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Shadows Cast by Stars. Prices and offers may vary in store. Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet—especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the Plague ravaging the rest of the world. When a search threatens Cassandra and her family, they flee to the Island: a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerilla warriors—and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in.

Incorporating the traditions of the First Peoples as well as the more familiar stories of Greek mythology and Arthurian legend, Shadows Cast by Stars is a haunting, beautifully written story that breathes new life into ancient customs. Customer Reviews of Shadows Cast by Stars. Select Parent Grandparent Teacher Kid at heart.

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Thank you. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. Extra Content. Our house, constructed of wood timber and roofed with asphalt shingles, straddles the boundary where the wasteland and the northernmost edge of the Western Population Corridor meet. Once was. Every morning, my brother and I rise before dawn, make the trek to the mag-station, and ride into the Corridor to attend school, where we plug into the etherstream via the chip in our forearm. Every afternoon, we make the return trip, riding the mag-train to the end of its line before walking back home along the old dirt road.

Behind us, smog from the Corridor reaches north, stretching its ugly yellow fingers as far as it can as it tries to snatch up the last of the habitable land. We are the only ones who have stayed, clinging to what little is ours, defiantly living as we always have, without computers and etherstreams and data-nets in our home, without food gels, without central heat. This is our choice. This is what it means to live the Old Way.

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Now he walks beside me, slump-shouldered as his battered raven flies next to him. Today it was some kid who was looking for a scapegoat to blame for his brother dying of Plague. The rest who joined in? Well, no one in the Corridor needs an excuse to stick it to an Other. Paul notices me watching him. The raven looks as beaten and bruised as Paul. When shades come to me, they sometimes take me under into the twilight world of spirit. But not today. Paul may not like it here, but this place is good for him.

Under the watchful eyes of the old windows, my brother is whole.


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He races inside to change out of his school clothes, the old floorboards creaking under his movements. I always leave the last one for him.

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We have made it through another day. Our family is still together, if not whole. The minute ends, as it always does, and reality sets in. Time for chores, but first I need to hide the contraband in my schoolbag: twine, twigs, old pencils, paper clips, elastic bands, tossed-away shirts, a red ribbon, a bundle of rusted keys. The family magpie, my father calls me. I do it anyhow. One day I might need an elastic, or a scrap of leather, or a length of wire.

I need only to feel. The twine and paper clips and the other cast-off junk spill onto the table the moment I unbuckle my school bag. Sunlight glints off the keys, and for a moment they seem to wriggle like bright blue herring, a fresh catch, ready to be devoured. I blink and they are keys again. The Old Way is a way of work. We have no electricity, no running water, no garbage collection. Our luxuries are born of our own hands. The Old Way keeps us honest, my father says.

It keeps us connected to the earth. But not today.

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Paul may not like it here, but this place is good for him. Under the watchful eyes of the old windows, my brother is whole. He races inside to change out of his school clothes, the old floorboards creaking under his movements. I always leave the last one for him. We have made it through another day. Our family is still together, if not whole. The minute ends, as it always does, and reality sets in.

Time for chores, but first I need to hide the contraband in my schoolbag: twine, twigs, old pencils, paper clips, elastic bands, tossed-away shirts, a red ribbon, a bundle of rusted keys. The family magpie, my father calls me. I do it anyhow. One day I might need an elastic, or a scrap of leather, or a length of wire.

I need only to feel. The twine and paper clips and the other cast-off junk spill onto the table the moment I unbuckle my school bag.

Shadows Cast by Stars

Sunlight glints off the keys, and for a moment they seem to wriggle like bright blue herring, a fresh catch, ready to be devoured. I blink and they are keys again. The Old Way is a way of work. We have no electricity, no running water, no garbage collection. Our luxuries are born of our own hands. The Old Way keeps us honest, my father says. It keeps us connected to the earth. Even with the rolling blackouts, they have heat in the dead of our brutal winter. In the Corridor I would find a job, and with the money I earned, I would buy my father a new armchair so he had somewhere comfortable to sit after a hard day of work.

I would buy myself a new wool coat and a pair of boots to keep my feet warm in the winter. And for my brother? We live here, on this farm, with its aging roof, its slumping porch, its sorry, sorry garden that I go outside to tend. Paul and my father have no talent for coaxing food from the depleted soil, so the task is left to me. I weed, I till, I plant, I nurture, and if I am lucky, the earth rewards me with a meager bounty in the fall: some squash.

Apples, if the spring was warm enough for bees.

But not like the old days, when this land was among the richest on earth. The rivers ran so thick with fish a man could walk from one shore to the other without ever getting his feet wet, they say. Bears gorged themselves on berries until they were food-drunk. Sweet rain fell like manna from heaven. Now our squash vines are stained with white mildew. But still, we stay. This is our land. This is home. Our father refuses to supplement our diet with nourishment gels. Only whole food, real food for us, he says.

The UA-distributed stuff will rot our guts, rot our souls. I agree with him on that, at least.

Our father returns home after dark. The chill stays later and later each year as the earth dies her slow death. Paul gobbles down his dinner while our father washes the ash and dirt from the plastics refinery off his body. We argued about this earlier, and in the end, Paul won out. I refuse to look at him. He is an unabashed romantic, my father, always holding on to hope, whistling that song about the bright side of life despite the fact that sunlight is a murderer and poison rain her accomplice.

A hand reaches out to take mine, and I resist the temptation to flinch. Somewhere nice. What do you think? Sooner or later someone will catch on, and my father will be entered into the UA inventory too. Either that or a machine will replace him.