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Publisher's Summary

Fourteen-year-old Anax thinks she knows her history. She'd better. She's sat facing three Examiners and her grueling five-hour examination on the 2077 Great War has just begun. If she passes, she'll be admitted into The Academy - the elite institution that runs her utopian society.But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she's been taught isn't the whole story. And that The Academy isn't what she believes it to be.Anax's examination leads us into a future where ancient - eternal - philosophical questions have dramatically collided with the march of technology, where just what it means to be human is up for debate, and where the concealed stain of an 'original sin' threatens the very existence of her brave new world.
©2009 Bernard Beckett; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Highly original, sinewy and cerebral, this remarkable thriller fuses intricate ideas with real emotion and suspense. I found it fascinating and thought-provoking. It gripped me like a vice." (Jonathan Stroud)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Amy on 03-22-13

A Wrenching, Challenging, Thought-Provoking Wonder

This is a one-of-a-kind gem I can't recommend highly enough. Surely it's one of dystopian science fiction's best-kept secrets. Imagine an isolated island preserved from world plague by its remote location. Now imagine the inhabitants creating a community based on Plato's REPUBLIC.

What does it mean to be alive? To be an individual? To be a member of a community? To be responsible? Whatever you expect this book will be, it will surprise you. I've listened to this more than once, and yet the twist ending never fails to take my breath away.

Don't be fooled if you see this referred to as a "young adult" novel; it's a perfect listen for thoughtful adults, as well.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By NMwritergal on 10-25-16

You have to be in the right mood for this one

The frame (Anax taking her 5-hr exam) is a device for the story she tells about Adam Ford and an AI. Yes, tells--not a lot of showing. And even the story she tells isn't much of one. Basically this book is about philosophical questions, such as "What is consciousness?"

Because there isn't a lot of "showing," and there's not a lot of fluff; it's not something you can listen to with half an ear.

I did find it interesting, but it was (in part) my mood. I had just finished reading something from the '40s, which was also quite philosophical and not exactly action-packed.

As far as the twist, halfway though I had most of it figured out, though it didn't spoil the book for me because I was interested in the questions the book was posing.

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