The Wayward Astronomer is a hybrid sci-fi / steampunk adventure novel set in the Dreamkeepers graphic novel universe which was created by David Lillie (www.dreamkeeperscomic.com).
The book is written in 3rd person, limited perspective.
In the Dreamkeepers setting, all people have an innate hidden "superpower" that can be discovered in times of extreme duress. Anduruna, the city-state in which everyone lives, explicitly forbids the use of any supernatural power. They enforce these rules with lethal force if necessary, but most citizens never discover their power, and are content to live their lives comfortably within the rules and the protective walls constructed by the city. However, there are a few unlucky souls who discover their hidden power, and when that happens, their lives are changed forever.
The book follows the life of Hal Adhil, a young astronomer. He works at a small observatory deep in the Starfall mountains alongside his friend and fellow astronomer, Miri Rodgers. At the start of the story, Hal has already found his power: the ability to see all wavelengths of light (IR, UV, X-ray, Mirowave etc.), and he secretly indulges in using it to look at the stars when he is safe at the remote observatory. One night, a meteorite crashes into the mountains nearby, and Hal and Miri decide to venture out and find it the following morning.
When they find the meteor, they discover that it is not just a dead rock from space, but a strange and mysterious power source, and they are not the only ones out looking for it. They are confronted by a group of armed religious revolutionaries, and the encounter turns violent. Miri is kidnapped, and Hal is shot and left for dead. Hal survives, however, sustained by fragments of the meteor that the gunshot buried in his body. Starting with nothing, Hal must now unravel the mystery of the meteor and the group that pursued it. The answers he finds are not the ones he ever expected.
He discovers the the group, the Order of Celestia, is being led by none other than Hal's estranged twin brother, Marcus. They parted ways on poor terms after the murder of their family, several years ago. Marcus had found his own meteor fragment, and resurrected an ancient religion that worshipped them. The meteor has the supernatural ability to amplify any Dreamkeeper's unique superpower, turning them into supersoldiers. Hal discovers that Marcus is raising a secret army of ex-convicts that are readying to overthrow the government of Anduruna, and Marcus asks him to join.
Hal isn't interested in becoming a revolutionary, nor does he care about the fate of the existing government. However, Miri is being held hostage to coerce his cooperation, so Hal reluctantly agrees to join. Through the middle section of the book, the reader discovers insights into Hal and Marcus' past, the criminal life they used to live together before the death of their family split them apart.
The conflicting values of the parties comes to a head in a deadly confrontation when they retrieve the final meteor fragment, where Hal and Miri's old mentor is killed before their eyes to protect the Celestial's secrecy.
Marcus refuses to let Hal and Miri go free until he launches his imminent attack against the city government, so the two protagonists take matters into their own hand in an attempt to escape. During the fighting, Hal murders Marcus' fiancee, and they escape to take refuge with old friends.
That night, Hal and Miri share a special moment as all the physical and emotional walls that separated them finally break down. Miri reveals her power to Hal, which is the ability to share all her senses with another person she can touch.
Before morning comes, Marcus tracks Hal down, furious and out for revenge. Hal is shot and Miri is taken away, again, as Marcus dispenses his justice. Hal's friends patch him up as best they can, and he sets out to confront Marcus at his cathedral and get Miri back.
The showdown at the cathedral is a momentous moment where all the parties are brought face to face with their fate. It's hard to summarize properly and capture the feeling of the climax, but in the end, the government troopers raid the building during the middle of the showdown. The final result is Marcus' death, and Hal and Miri's near death.
Hal wakes up from a coma more than a year and a half after the ordeal. His is blind and badly wounded from his injuries, yet somehow overjoyed to simply be alive. Hal and Miri are reunited after neither one expected to see the other again. A government agent visits and explains that Hal is a criminal for aiding Marcus and using his power, even though he tried to stop him in the end. Hal is banished from the city violating it's laws, and Miri chooses to go with him.
At the end of the story, Hal and Miri are dropped off far outside the city, in the wilderness. They climb to the top of a hill to discover that the sun is starting to rise over the ocean. With each one of them using their power, they share the moment together and are able to see the sunrise for the spectacular beauty it truly is. Where they go next is not revealed, but the book ends with Hal laughing and stating that "Somehow, I get the feeling that everything will turn out ok."
Geoffrey Thomas is an American author, blogger, and aerospace engineer. Born in Hartford, CT in 1987, he spent most of his childhood in Rhode Island, growing up not far from the edge of Narragansett Bay. Writing has always been a strong passion of his, and The Wayward Astronomer is his first published work. He maintains an online blog called "The Adventures of Geo", which chronicles the adventures of his day to day life. When not working on rocket engines, Geoff enjoys riding his motorcycle, traveling to new places, and writing short author bios in the third person. He currently lives in Midland, TX, but insists that the world itself is his home.
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