Transforming Orphan Town into a lectral-powered wonder is enough for Alvin Esker. He understands the world and sees no mystery in it. But his mind wanders to the stars, he discovers the impossible—a girl called Hanna. She arrives in secret to search for an artifact from the ancient world, a book that illuminates its reader, something she believes lies hidden in the very care of Orphan’s Scholars. Alvin doesn’t believe in fairy tales. His sister died trying to find her myths, but in proving to Hanna that no such things exist, Alvin triggers an experiment that gives him sight to see a language written in the stars, the language the universe is made of. He unwittingly begins to destroy the entire continent. Alvin and Hanna escape and embark on a desperate race to the distant north in search of the source of the experiment to undo what they unleashed. They’re separated in Hanna’s tribal village, beneath which Alvin discovers an ancient synthetic intelligence that confirms the origin of man at the axis, and warns him not to go. Alvin and Hanna flee as the continent is ripped apart, and soon discover ghostly ships that carried their people to this land in search of something long ago. Hunted by the tribe’s warriors, they sail on the wreckage of the breaking land and find their way to the axis, and a lost city where Alvin’s hopes are dashed, and he will face his greatest fear: the only way to stop what he unleashed may be to lay down his own life. Alvin returns home to find his town soaring after them, about to enter the hollow earth itself. With Hanna beside him, his final task is to open the eyes of Orphan, and show them all that’s been hidden from them.
A native Wisconsinite and science-fictioneer, Daniel Athas Holly grew up in the country, reading copious amounts of science fiction (especially Jules Verne). A traditional fellow, Daniel has a love of timepieces, maps, hats, messenger bags, and classical literature. He began courting his beloved wife Elizabeth in 2004 and married her a year later. They have three girls, Nevæa, Avonlea, and Serenity. They live in Whitewater, where Daniel writes his books, works in their church, mows his lawn, and likely aggravates the neighbors. Though an advocate of homeschool, he taught for seven years as an English professor for the University of Wisconsin after receiving his MFA in Writing for Young Adults. He specializes in Utopian Literatures (arose while researching paradise legends for Last Astronomer!), and spends his free time studying Christian apologetics, theology, world religions, and mythology. Daniel builds furniture, operates a small 3D printing workshop, and plays with models.