Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Before the reign of King Adolphus, the Island of Adolphia was a bunch of disconnected, warring kingdoms. King Adolphus brought everyone together, renamed the island, and since then it has been a (mostly) peaceful place. Without constant wars and death the people, with the King's encouragement, are free to pursue knowledge.
At this time in history, there is no written language, no numbering system, no system of measurement, and no currency. Information has been passed down through family members by word of mouth. And jealously guarded. King Adololphus hopes to change that. He holds a council with all of the neighboring Dukes and Lords. He challenges them to learn, and to share their information with each other. Their first task is to find a way to account for the amount of daylight and the passing of the seasons. You see, there is no hour, day, month, or year. There is no way of knowing how much time remains before the sun sets, or how long before the cold season comes. Time merely passes.
Cristo, a young ward of the king, is very excited by the ideas he has heard, and wishes to begin immediately. He pesters Lord Allard, the King's most trusted wise man, to allow him to help with this project, while devising his own, as well. If the theories Lord Allard and Cristo have are correct, then their separate experiments should confirm each other.
Duke Nextor was forced into the truce that exists on the island. He is eager to be the first to find the information, and use it against Adolphus. He puts his wise man, Boltair, to the task. Boltair has no interest in the ideas, and no clue where to start. He sends Grigor to spy on Allard and Cristo, and report back to him.
Lord Allard and Cristo face a daunting task on many levels. A spy in their midst just may mean the failure of both experiments.
This book was fascinating! We take counting and money and time a bit for granted. It's always been there, so we don't question where the concepts came from. This is a great look at how some parts might have come about. The more I think about how strange it would be to not to be able to account for time, and how hard it would be to figure out how to start, the more impressed I am by this book! Additionally, it's a good story, with interesting characters. It's definitely worth the read!