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There Comes a Prophet

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"But what are we without dreams?"

A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

A restless dreamer, Nathaniel has always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for something more but unwilling to challenge the unbending status quo. When his friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds young men and women eternally to the Light—Nathaniel can barely recognize the broken and brooding young man the boy has become. And when the beautiful Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel knows he must somehow save her. But in the prisons of Temple City he discovers a terrible secret that launches the three of them on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in dire jeopardy. For a truth awaits them there that threatens the foundation of the Temple. But if they reveal that truth the words of the book of light might come to pass:

“If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

282 pages, Paperback

First published July 9, 2012

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About the author

David Litwack

15 books242 followers
The urge to write first struck at age sixteen when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the wild night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by the northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process — and without prior plan — becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

In this new stage of his life, he’s published Along the Watchtower in June, 2013 and The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky in May, 2014. His latest book, The Children of Darkness, the first of the Seekers series, a dystopian trilogy, was published in June, 2015.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 84 reviews
Profile Image for Candace.
645 reviews187 followers
September 21, 2012
I honestly had no idea what I would think of this book. It has an interesting description, but I felt a little clueless about it. It sounds like dystopian fantasy or something. And the book started out feeling kind of fantasy, but that was just because of the world we're introduced to. The people live like they did in the old the days, before technology and cars, etc. They weave clothing, they grow their food, they travel by foot or cart, they live simple lives. At about the halfway mark we get to see a bit of what we know, what is the ancient past to them. Huge cities, with incredible buildings, cars that move on their own, etc. Suddenly it starts feeling more dystopian. And it's neat because these three friends don't know what they are seeing and it's all amazing and like magic to them.

I was wondering what sort of religious tone the book would have. And I think it's important to clarify it. In this book the leaders of their 'world' are Vicars. But the religion is not really a religion. Because religion was cause for wars and so many disasters, they had wiped it out and made one common religion and now what they worship is the light. They live in the time of the light and they are taught to fear the dark and bringing it back. As the dark was the time before, when there were wars and humans went around destroying everyone with weapons. Now the Vicars are feared and dreaded but also respected (to a certain degree) and they tried to keep everyone in hand by scaring them with 'teachings'. But if you want to know more about that you'll have to read the book. ;)

So now that I've given you a better idea of what the book is about I bet your wondering if I liked it, right? And yes! I actually really liked it! I found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading, and when I was reading it was easy to keep reading, I never grew bored and nothing made me want to take a break. I really liked the characters and the very strong friendship they had. They weren't without issues, but they never got annoyingly angsty and seemed to work through things with minimal drama. I also loved the world and how it all worked. I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on it. Of course, it wasn't immediate but there weren't any info dumps and everything was fairly uncomplicated.

Now, I really liked the book a lot, but there are a few things I want to mention, these aren't negatives exactly, just some thoughts. I liked the characters a lot but because of the narration style I felt like I didn't get really close with any of them, like they were kept out of arms reach. But at the same time I liked the way it was done because we saw so much more. So I guess I have mixed feelings there. I also felt a hint of romance and it might have been good if it was a bit stronger than a hint. Then again, I really like how important their friendship was, so it's not necessarily a negative. The last thing is that a lot happens in the book and so it was easy reading because it wasn't terribly deep. There was danger and intense moments, but it could have possibly gone a little bit deeper, explored things a bit more and maybe turned this one book into two books. BUT, I also liked that this was an easier and faster read, that there was danger, but yet we weren't biting our nails off sitting on the edge of our seats. I still found myself eager to find out more, but I wasn't stressed out or anything. Not too badly anyway. I guess I'm saying that dystopian's have that potential to take things to a level of insanity, where the stakes are way high. I love them like that, yet I hate them because it totally stresses me out. So, like I said- not really negatives, but just some thoughts.

I most definitely recommend this book to dystopian lovers. And those that are fans of fantasy should enjoy it as well even though it's not a fantasy, it just has that old world feel in a large chunk of the book. The book may look a bit sci fi by the cover, but it's not really. It didn't have a sci fi feel to me even though there's one portion of the book that did lean a bit in that direction, it wasn't anything too strong and there weren't any crazy inventions or anything hard to comprehend.

You can find this review (eventually) and others like it on my blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com
Profile Image for Jill Swanson-Diaz.
160 reviews57 followers
January 12, 2015
There Comes A Prophet is a superbly written tale of science fiction. This story is set in a dystopian society where the age of discovery has been ruled as a deafening darkness. The people have come to believe that the Vicar's who rule and teach them have the final say. Although some express their discontent in minor ways, most choose to exist under their rule and except their way without question. I was enthralled and intrigued by the authors creation of this society. Instead of the usual destruction of a society which leads to a struggling rebirth, There Comes A Prophet deviated slightly from this norm. This society started out in an age of invention and knowledge and became stripped down into a state of controlled calm. Although, the Temple of Light is strict in their teachings they do not make their people suffer. This story is about the journey to restore knowledge to the society. David Litwack has an enjoyable and captivating writing style. His characters are wonderfully developed and endearing. Orah, Nathaniel and Thomas are all strong in their own way. They believe in their task as Seekers and for the betterment of their world. This story is full of emotion and plenty of mystery. You will love following these characters on their journey and excite in their discoveries. I highly recommend reading this novel! Especially if you are a fan of science fiction. I look forward to reading more from this author!
Profile Image for Fiona Ingram.
Author 13 books739 followers
August 14, 2012
Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas, best friends since childhood, live a peaceful, bucolic existence in Little Pond, a place as small as its name suggests. Their lives are simple, governed by the teachings from the Temple, and the ministrations of the Vicars and their squadron of Deacons. Hints of the past, the ‘darkness’, are resolutely squashed by the Vicars who explain that to doubt is to reject the ‘light’ of their teachings. Subsequently, the perceived ‘magical’ elements of the past are crushed in favor of so-called mystical teachings. For a thousand years, this peaceful existence continues. Nevertheless, secrets have a way of revealing themselves.

Nathaniel doesn’t accept the Vicars’ teachings; he believes there is more to life. A legend exists of earlier magic, hidden away in a place called the Keep. The secret path to the Keep has been preserved by Keepers, who will pass on the clues to a group called Seekers. But of course no one dares question the Temple, until Thomas is taken away for a ‘teaching,’ and comes back broken in mind and spirit. Seeds of rebellion grow in Nathaniel, and come to fruition when his friend Orah is taken. Determined to save her, Nathaniel ends up in the prisons of Temple City, and finds out the truth from a long-time prisoner. Armed with knowledge, he sets forth with Thomas and Orah to find the Keep. Can they survive the journey, and can they inspire their people to realize the truth behind the Temple? Will the fulfilment of their mission destroy their world?

Author David Litwack has created a believable dystopian world devoid of technology. Technology overtook humanity (perhaps a salutary lesson here?), and led to social collapse. Hints of the hideous effects of indoctrination in a totalitarian society remind us of the dangers of the suppression of knowledge. This is a coming-of-age story, a tale of friendship and loyalty, and of self-discovery and self-belief. Each of the friends discovers their own talents, and with that, their purpose in life. The author takes a philosophical approach and engages readers in ideas of freedom and choice, both personal and of thinking. This is such a well-written book, with so many thought-provoking concepts that I am sure readers will thoroughly enjoy it and appreciate the author’s message.
First reviewed for Readers Favorite
Profile Image for Arlene Kay.
Author 11 books81 followers
July 27, 2012
When three young friends challenge a repressive regime, they set in motion changes that will shake their world. "There Comes A Prophet" underscores two themes: the power of friendship, and the impact of individual courage in a world gone awry. The author deftly sketches the landscape (both geographic and personal) of the society in which his characters exist, and teases his readers with the promise of a fuller life that is there for the taking.

Although the drama and pace of this book feel very much like a thriller, There Comes a Prophet, poses a philosophical conundrum that can apply to any world. Who amongst us will cast aside a reasonably comfortable existence and risk death in order to pursue a dream?

Mr. Litwack presents us with this dilemma, wrapped around beautiful prose and dialogue. His protagonists are audacious yet likeable; heroic but very human. Readers pf fantasy, science fiction, and distopian literature will find this book irresistible. As for the rest of us, the author proves that a strong tale, well told, will always thrill an audience of any description.
1 review3 followers
December 30, 2012
As a high school teacher and avid reader, I am constantly in search of books for my students as well as myself. David Litwack's There Comes A Prophet is a perfect story for young adult readers, but its underlying theme and character development will keep any adult engaged. Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas go on a journey to discover the keep, a rumored hidden treasure that many believe never existed or has been destroyed over time. Through their quest, the three main characters work to solve a riddle while meeting many strangers that provide them with more questions than answers. These questions, however, are the heart and soul of this book: How can just a few young people change the world? If all progress were stopped, would we look back to the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors? David Litwack writes the message I hope all of my students hear: "Ideas combined with courage can change the world."
Profile Image for Linda.
60 reviews
January 4, 2016
Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/20...

There Comes a Prophet surprised me. Big-time. After several review requests, I had come to expect, well, less from authors who self-published their works or worked with small publishers. (Pardon me if I sound insulting to the aforementioned authors or publishers, but it’s generally true in my experience that those works tend to be less polished than those from, say, HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster.) But There Comes a Prophet was well-written and captivated my interest as I read it. It is undoubtedly one of the best underappreciated works I’ve read.


The first fifty pages of the book did not capture my attention, but things quickly picked up when Nathaniel traveled to Temple City to rescue Orah from the vicars’ teaching. From there the plot kept me wanting to continue to the next chapter, and the next, and so on. Every so often I would tilt my head to look at my clock and realize that an hour had passed.

What I think really pulled me into this book was the hunt to find the keep. I’ve always loved solving puzzles and going on scavenger hunts, and this book had plenty to keep me satisfied. I was excited whenever I made a connection or whenever I discovered something new in the riddle. Though I could crack some of the clues, the book was for the most part not predictable and flowed smoothly from one page to the next.

Though I have to say that I was disappointed with the lack of action (strangely enough, I love fighting scenes), the romance between Nathaniel and Orah was enough to make me smile whenever Nathaniel was being especially sweet to Orah or Orah was being especially bossy to Nathaniel (girl power!). The romance in this book didn’t draw attention away from the focus of the story but was just enough to keep me interested–which is exactly what I want in romance in books, unlike the young adult paranormal romances I constantly see in bookstores today.

I also enjoyed the religious undertones in the book. I can easily imagine a theocracy going bad like that established in There Comes a Prophet, and I like how Litwack chose the deity of the religion in his book to be the light (or sun–I was a little bit confused on that subject). He captured the essence of a religion within the pages of this book.


Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas were all charming characters that I adored (Orah especially), but all felt a little underdeveloped. Litwack seemed to TELL more than SHOW their qualities and characteristics, and because of that I felt a little distant from them. Sure, I knew that Nathaniel was a dreamer, but I didn’t completely understand how he was one. Thomas seemed unstable most of the time, which made me uncertain of how I felt about him. Orah was, in my opinion, the most developed of the three protagonists, but I wish her life before Thomas’s teaching, as well as of the others, was more fleshed out and provided more insight into her character.

The other characters in the novel seemed very minor in comparison and I didn’t feel for them as strongly as I did for Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas. I don’t know if that was what the author intended, but I like thinking that everyone has a life story and that it shows in every little thing they do–only then do those characters become realistic to me.


I’ve had some bad experience with some self-published authors in which their works were just nightmares for grammar nazis (including me), but I’m glad to say that I only caught a few typos and grammatical mistakes in There Comes a Prophet. But for those few errors, Litwack more than made up for them with his superb vocabulary. I was blown away by the dialogue and the diction and the medieval tone they created in this novel.

Overall, reading There Comes a Prophet was a delight. Though the characters were underdeveloped, the plot kept me reading up to late hours of the night and Litwack’s storytelling painted a world of both light and darkness–and the truth that would mix the two.

source: ebook received for review from CBB Book Promotions
Profile Image for Megan (The Book Babe).
452 reviews97 followers
September 27, 2012
Other reviews like this at The Book Babe

Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.

Wow. When I first started this book, the premise was just a little bit too boring, the characters were a little too meh, and the story-line was dragging. Yes, it was. I was supremely bored, and more than a little unhappy that I'd accepted this book's pitch. Then, when I was about 50 pages in, it suddenly just all came together.

The character's became more developed, the story-line sky-rocketed to terrific, and best of all, the premise suddenly became amazing. Because of one simple reason: It suddenly became an epic fantasy. Dystopian was just not working for this book. When I was sent the review request, that's what I chalked it up to. A simple dystopian, just like the hundreds of others that have been released recently. Was I ever wrong.

The book was clearly fantasy, and I can't believe that I missed it before. Honestly, I am so blind. But I'm glad I am, because after a certain dragon book, (I'm sure you can guess which one) I completely backed off fantasy. It just wasn't my thing, after that one book ruined it for me.

And that was that. So, in retrospect, I never would have picked this book up if I thought it was fantasy. On one hand, I can see the dystopian elements, but it reads so much like a fantasy!

Moving on, because I've spent a little too much time rambling about fantasy.

While the characters weren't exactly phenomenal, they were more than enough to keep me entertained, and I really wanted to know what happened to them.

Nathaniel, our lead character, was extremely brave, honest, and he just wanted to be a hero. Nathaniel was a dreamer, and I love that. We very rarely get to see dreamers anymore, because of the contemporary craze. Orah and Thomas were every bit as good as Nathaniel, but they lacked the leadership that Nathaniel ignites. The rebellion, and other spoilerish content, would not have began without Nathaniel. He's a born leader. And he deserves every bit of praise he gets.

All in all, There Comes a Prophet was a fantasy of epic proportions, that kept me reading until the very end.

Favorite Quote:
"Ideas combined with Courage can change the world."
Profile Image for Sarah Brillinger.
88 reviews1 follower
November 9, 2012
I was pleasantly surprised by this book as I was a little skeptical in reading the description but the book was so much better and not at all related to wizardry. It's a dystopian society, a future world where technology is no longer remembered except for a few key pieces that the rulers (the vicars) keep for themselves in order to spy on the people. Three young people start to question it all after one is taken away for a "lesson" that turns out to basically be torture. While in jail, one of the young people meets someone who calls himself a "keeper" and is given a clue to find where truth about the past actually lies. The group follows the trail and finds out the truth about technology and the good & bad of the past.

I read another book recently called Birthmarked that gave me the same kinds of questions that this one did. How can no one know what's around them? The people in this book have no idea about what's beyond a 3 day walk. I find it hard to believe that human curiosity and evolution completely stops, moves backwards in time and stays put for 1000 years until 3 curious teenagers discover the truth, but alas... it is a story after all.

Overall this book is well written, kept me very interested and entertained and I would recommend for any dystopian lover.
4 reviews
August 2, 2012
Three young villagers come of age in a world kept peaceful by an oppressive theocracy called the Temple of Light. Their lives change when Thomas and Orah are sent for the temple's mind control ritual, the teaching. Nathaniel tries and fails to help them and in the process is imprisoned. In the dungeons of Temple City, he discovers a secret that shatters his view of their world. This starts them off on a path of discovery, where they learn the truth, not only about their world, but about themselves and each other.

The plot has twists and turns that keep the reader spell bound. The characters are richly drawn and the society vividly exposed. As the three friends grow through their many adventures, the author explores how an individual finds the courage to confront authority and change the world, all without the gratuitous violence of books like The Hunger Games! Great read.
Profile Image for Kevin Symmons.
Author 5 books191 followers
July 27, 2012
Loved it. A dystopina society once again serves as the backdrop for an adventure for three young friends (Orah, Nathaniel and Thomas). Author David Litwack has used his obvious literaty skills, thoughful plotting and vivid characterization to create an unforgetttable work. Will not spoil the complex plot but do not miss it!
Profile Image for Kaben.
5 reviews
October 12, 2012
Note: this review was posted 8 October 2012 at On Starships And Dragonwings. The next day, in awful coincidence, the Taliban tried to kill fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pashtun schoolgirl known for advocating women's rights to education. As of this writing, Malala has survived gunshot wounds to the head and throat, but she remains in critical condition. Please keep her in your thoughts, or pray for her, according to your beliefs.

To learn more about the blog Malala wrote for the BBC:


We still credit St. Augustine for the modern Heaven, Hell, and Catholic Church, but it’s no fair to praise/blame him for the subsequent Dark Ages. We once knew when and what they were, but nobody agrees anymore. If you use the term wrong, you’re crass. So be vague about the “Dark Ages”. For example, don’t mean “600 years of religious zeal and intellectual turpitude between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance”. If you do, someone will say “Charlemagne!” and then you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth. But what if a Dark Age began today, characterized by ignorance and zeal? What if religious fanaticism permeated and then dominated our politics? Would we benefit? What would be the risks? How would morality change? How would it be enforced? What would we be allowed to do and to think? What knowledge might we lose? Could we ever get it back? How?

With his first novel, “There Comes A Prophet”, new author David Litwack gives a well-written and all-too-plausible answer.

Setting: There Comes a Prophet consists of a journey on-foot starting from the tiny village of Little Ponds.

Premise: In a world absent all technology save medicine and other Temple magics, one out of every three youths are chosen by the Temple of Light for Teaching — a feared, unexplained experience that leaves them changed and haunted. Thomas of Little Ponds is taken for a Teaching, and is kept longer than most. Upon his return, he and his two closest friends fear they too may be chosen for a Teaching. The choices they make to cope with this fear will trigger a chain of events a thousand years in the making.

* Thought-provoking. The implications and possibilities are kind of scary.
* Like all good adventures, There comes a Prophet will frequently make you wonder, ”What would I do?” The answer is usually, “I’d do exactly what they did.” This is also kind of scary.
* Considering modern totalitarian theocracies, the premise is reasonable. So is the way the whole story plays out. Again, scary.
* Nearly everything about this novel is believable: dialog, character development, events, conflicts, responses, consequences. You’ll identify and empathize strongly with the characters. This makes for a gripping story.
* Somehow, impressively, this gripping story has no fights to the death, no bloodletting, no demons, no sex, no drugs, no violence, not even any cussing. All tension is psychological. Okay, somebody gets a black eye, but we never see it happen.

* The one big implausibility in There Comes a Prophet is the precepts of the Temple of Light. Frankly, they’re too reasonable. I’ll be vague to avoid spoilers: How many religious leaders would honestly endeavor to do no harm to their people? All? How many would cooperate to save humanity? All? While there would be many, there would also be holdouts who would violently disagree to the end, and kill for their beliefs. But the Temple of Light is very similar to things that could happen and have happened many times in our history, some of which exist today.
* The premises of There Comes A Prophet are so huge that I think Litwack could have spun it into a much longer story. I wish he had. If all of Litwack’s ideas are this good, he has room to be much more ambitious.

A friend of mine just commented, “So that period before the Renaissance: who brought Europe out of it? Europe? The Irish? The Arabs? Hint: it wasn’t the Irish. Europe had nothing on the Arabs. They were way beyond Europe. Europe was still being all Augustinian, and couldn’t get beyond Neo-Platonic logic. It was Arabic thinking that brought Europe into the Renaissance.”

There are plenty of things besides religious fanaticism that could trigger a Dark Age (war, disease, natural disaster). But if the whole world falls into a Dark Age, which it could plausibly do, who could bring us out of it? According to David Litwack in There Comes A Prophet, the only answer is us, now, somehow reaching into the future.

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Profile Image for Charles.
Author 63 books119 followers
September 28, 2012
A First Reads Review - There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack

If there was one word I could use to describe this book, it would be proficient. This book is fine, good even, but is, ultimately, forgettable. The language is solid, the story and characters are good, if not overly deep, and the world provided is effective in getting across what one would call the author's message, that humans have great potential for good while having great potential for evil, but to hamper the first for fear of the later is limiting and, in the end, worthy of contempt. It's not exactly the newest idea to play with, but the author does a fine job of using the characters and the plot to get the readers to see what he's saying, casting no one as mere devil, which is nice.

The story revolves around three friends, all young adults, which gives the novel as a whole a much more young adult feel. I'm not entirely sure if that is intentional that this book has a young adult feel to it, but that is enhanced by the general lack of adult themes. While there is a bit of romance going on, it is really only briefly touched upon, and only in a more sweet, childlike sense. No sex, no real violence, no real swearing. There are parts when the Temple uses psychological torture, but that's about it. And while the book does a nice job moving the action alone, there really isn't that much the sense of danger. Not even at the end, when the threat should be most real, did I feel the characters were in danger.

That said, it works as a young adult fantasy/sci-fantasy novel. Technically taking place in the far future, this book visits ideas similar to other young adult books like City of Ember, where the adults are either a part of or allow to continue a rather corrupt ruling organization that keeps the people from exploring their full potential. There is a quest with riddles to discover the lost past, and in the end people see the error of their ways and start moving back to taking control of their lives. This is done rather peaceably, as there are no battles, no real clashes. It is a bloodless rebellion, but effective nonetheless.

The choice of the Temple for the villain is a little old hat, as the idea of a religious institution keeping the people under control while reaping the benefits of technology isn't really new, but at the very least the Temple isn't shown in the worst of lights, and I still got the sense that mostly good people still existed and worked there. And the main characters were not solely good, either, though they come fairly close. They have conflicting feelings, though, and they think things through. They seem intelligent and strong and that just works. It all just works.

So I guess what I have to say and end on is that the novel made no mistakes. It is a solid read, but sadly that is about all I can say. It did little to go above being merely good, and while it comes as a relief to read after some of the other things I have recently. But there was a certain lack of greater imagination, of breaking from the norms. This was serviceable, this was proficient. But it was not great. And so I give it three stars out of five.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Alejandra (Allie).
30 reviews3 followers
August 5, 2016
Disclaimer: Please note that I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

As has been previously stated, some people have had a concern with the religious factor. After reading this for myself, I can assure you that the book is not religious in tone but more like the government is being led by religious leaders. They don't worship an actual God but the light which makes this enjoyable even for the people who avoid religious books at all costs.

This book takes place in a dystopian setting where the government is led by religious leaders whose job is to prevent the people from ever going back to that era where only destruction and chaos occurred -- the darkness. Nathaniel has always been wary of the Temple. Their methods of keeping the peace, and preventing the darkness from returning were unjust, and he believed there was more to the darkness than the Temple was letting on.

Together with his friends, Nathaniel embarks on a quest to find the keep -- it's the only way to find out the real truth about the darkness, and the mysterious "magical powers" the vicars wield. Together, they encounter many obstacles, and learn more about themselves and each other than ever before.

What I really liked the most about this book were the characters. All of them were multifaceted, and the actions of some were very unexpected. Throughout their journey of finding the keep, they matured, and were no longer the young adults you were introduced to at the beginning of the book. Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas all had different strengths and weakness which made them much different from the cliche characters you usually read about in the young adult genre nowadays.

The mystery behind the keep's location is also very well written, and you won't know what's coming next until the characters do. Mr. Litwack's creativity definitely shined throughout the whole story, especially during the twists and turns you never saw coming.

Despite a couple of spelling and grammar errors, everything about this story is beautifully written; the characters, the plot, and the writing style are all superbly crafted, and will be sure to capture the hearts of people of all ages.
Profile Image for Christina (Ensconced in Lit).
984 reviews289 followers
October 14, 2012
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not bias my review. I award this book 4.5 stars.

There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack stars three young people- Nathaniel, Thomas, and Orah. Their world is centered around a religion of the Light and the Darkness has to be fought off at all costs. One young person is chosen for a Teaching, so that this is a warning that can be spread throughout the villages as to what happens when confronted with Darkness. After Thomas is taken for a teaching, Nathaniel and Orah realize that there is much to be desired of the world that they know, and start to question the whole setup of their society. This starts the three friends on a journey that leads to solving a huge puzzle and unveiling a world of secrets.

I was warned that the beginning is a little slow. I would say this is the sole downfall of this book and may be why people may put it down. I know partially this is to set up the world, but this becomes clear just from the narrative of the book. I think the book would have been better served if we started off with Thomas being taken for the teaching. However, from there, this book really takes off and I couldn't stop until the end. It is wonderfully written, with terrific, three dimensional characters, and centers around a mystery and journey that is artfully crafted. I was as curious as our three heroes as they discovered the mystery little by little.

Orah is reminiscent of Hermione from the Harry Potter series. She is a brainiac and solves most of the puzzles. That said, she does have her moments of doubt and is confronted with mysteries that she can't figure out, which I loved. No one can be perfect! I have to say I was in doubt about the character of Thomas, and I was a little confused that he opens our story. Let me tell you, he gets his moment in the spotlight, and I think it is incredibly appropriate to both start and end with him.

This author is extremely promising, and I can't wait to see what he has up his sleeve next.
Profile Image for Lizzy Lessard.
327 reviews88 followers
December 12, 2012
There Comes a Prophet can be viewed as the YA version of 1984. The key point of 1984 was that the government controlled every aspect of life, particularly thought and ideas. There Comes a Prophet has Nathaniel and his friends living in the same bleak universe. But there’s one major difference between the two novels – hope. The children in There Comes a Prophet have an idea that transforms into a mission, which transforms into a revolution. I think that the message within this book is perfect for MG and YA readers – one person can make a difference. Three people can change the world.

During the first half of the novel, I had some trouble connecting with the characters. I wasn’t sure why Thomas was on the mission since he felt useless – but then he becomes important to the plot near the end. Orah reminds me horribly of Hermione at times with her smarts and loyal nature. I did like Nathaniel throughout the novel, especially since he didn’t whine or wallow in self-pity.

The world building was phenomenal and I like how each place on their mission was described so adeptly that I could visualize the map of their world without needing a paper copy. It’s rare that a book written at this age level can have the depth of an adult novel. I think at times the message might be too deep for a MG reader to fully comprehend, but the story line is still entertaining enough for younger readers to enjoy. And the preaching is very limited, unlike 1984. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of dystopians or wants to read a fantasy book that isn’t the typical find this item quest. The romance is limited, yet extremely sweet and touching. The subject matter of the book is dark, but there is very little violence on screen.

And yet another book that I need to buy in paperback for my mom and her schoolkids. This book deserves full marks.

(I received a copy of this book as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.)
683 reviews24 followers
February 10, 2014
[Full disclsoure: David Litwack sent me a print book in exchange for an honest review.]

There Comes a Prophet was definitely not what I expected—in a good way! In what seems to be epic fantasy in the beginning, I expected your typical coming of age story: young hero is reluctantly thrust into a war between two races because his mentor is killed/powers are discovered and ends up saving the world after a long and arduous journey. The reality of David Litwack’s science fiction/fantasy was so far from my prediction that I feel quite foolish now. No, instead of a young hero there are three young friends who don’t seek to rebel against the vicars in the beginning. But then something happens that changes Thomas and Nathaniel must bargain away his freedom in order to save Orah from the same fate.

Nathaniel’s completely selfless bargain is the catalyst for the three friends’ journey and along the way, they encounter people who can see the vicars for what they really are. And what they find at the ‘end’ of their epic journey changes them and their world forever, but not in the instantaneous rebellion way you would expect. David Litwack certainly isn’t an author that falls into the cliché trap and he has realized that societies don’t suddenly change overnight. The ending has a wonderful plot twist and my favourite part is that not everything is resolved yet the ending is satisfying. A surprising number of authors can’t pull this off, but David Litwack has.

My favourite part of There Comes a Prophet was the world-building. The rise of the Temple, the fall of technology and the change back to the old ways is a fascinating story. The information is parceled out in small chunks throughout the novel, so it doesn’t feel like an info-dump at all. Some of the dialogue was a little stiff (even for fantasy), but it didn’t detract from the overall quality of the novel.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars, rounded up to 5 stars for Goodreads rating purposes.
Profile Image for Denis.
25 reviews
August 9, 2012
Engaging twist on a future society

What I liked about “There Comes a Prophet” was the mixture of a great story of friendship and courage combined with intrigue and suspense, while presenting an interesting twist on a future society.

It’s a story of 3 friends that find out that their simplistic world is not what they thought it was. Politics and religion have merged into a way of governing and living that leave little room for individual creativity and fulfillment. It’s kind of a ‘what if religious leaders controlled the technology’ and they took us back to an agrarian society ‘for our own good’.

The three main characters, Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas learn of a secret place from a dying prisoner, strike out together on a quest to solve the clues, find the hidden location called the keep, and return with a secret about the past that will shake the foundation of their civilization. Along the way they must elude the ruling vicars who are in pursuit, make some very difficult choices, and stay one step ahead of the vicars’ secret technologies.

Like other books I have enjoyed, this book provides strong characters with underlying themes of friendship, perseverance, courage, and the will to challenge an authority that has more power than it should. My strongest recommendation is to simply say, “I’m a very busy professional who read this book in two days and let everything else lapse while reading it”!

There Comes a ProphetDavid Litwack
Profile Image for Jenny.
918 reviews181 followers
March 21, 2013
I really loved this dystopian! It almost feels like a fantasy novel at first, because you cannot see any remnants at all of our current world--but that changes about halfway through.

The world building in this one is absolutely fantastic. All of it felt believable. I especially loved how the author used religion as a catalyst for the apocalypse. And then as a method of controlling its citizens. Sound familiar?

I loved our three MCs. Thomas is the goof off, and also the one who marches to the beat of his own drummer. Orah is the brilliant one (she made me think of Hermione from Harry Potter!), and Nathaniel is the courageous, brave one. These three kids worked well together, even though they were oftentimes in disagreement! We don't really get a lot of other character development. Most of the other characters are side characters, although we do get to know Nathaniel's dad a bit.

This was a great read! The last two thirds were almost constant adventure. "The Keep" was unreal. Wouldn't be so awesome to go to a place and get to pick the brains of the smartest peoples in the societies before us? If you love a good dystopian, this book is for you!
Profile Image for Kristin.
937 reviews100 followers
December 4, 2012
Honestly, these aren’t the usual books I usually go seeking out to read. I took this book for review mostly because I’m always intrigued by stories where there’s a government in power that is controlling the lives of the people they say they protect and love. I always look for the lies “the powers that be” spin and wait for the lies to be spit back at them by the revolting serfs (huz zah!) Down with oppression!

In this dystopian tale, the governing body is in the form of a “religion” that seeks to keep people out of the “darkness” by ensuring that everyone follows the rules of the “light”. These “rules” include no free thinking… say what?!?! As in, no dreaming!! You have no future, you will live your basic life, have the prescribed number of children you’re allowed, and “light” help you if play an instrument other than a flute or indulge in sweets.

But what happens when after 1000 years under strict rule, the young start to dream of far off places? Dream of stories untold? To actually have imaginations? To seek knowledge?

That’s what this book delves into: the future rise out of a dark age. They say history repeats itself…

Setting / World Building

When our story starts, we are transported to a rural village getting ready to hold a festival. It sounds absolutely idyllic. Unfortunately, it’s all an illusion. Mr. Litwack does an excellent job describing a village set out in the middle of nowhere. I pictured something from the frontier days of the old west.


Our main characters are Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas. They’ve grown up together and are best friends. What I like best about these characters is that each one lends a different voice to the story with their own biases . Each character is unique with their strengths and weaknesses. Each character is pretty thoroughly “fleshed out”.

This book has many, many points of view and Mr. Litwack switches up the “voice” to match the scene or better describe what is going on in the story. I personally enjoyed this as it kept the tale interesting.

My only gripe is that Orah didn’t act like a typical teenage girl when it came to guys. Yeah, she had guy crushes. But she always led with her brain first, heart second. Me, when I was her age, it was all about the boys! I guess living a simple existence does that to a girl: has her thirsting for knowledge first, boys second.

Story / Tempo

The story is a pretty straightforward adventure. It was a fast, easy read. Although not a nail biter or page turner, it still kept my attention until the ending excitement.

I could easily see this book discussed for a book club. I don’t want to spoil anything for the reader but there are just so many references to our history that it would make for some fascinating discussions. Plenty of discussion questions could be gleaned from this story!

Overall, despite the fact that I normally don’t seek out dystopian books, I really liked this complex story of a society caught up in the latest version of the Dark Ages.
3 reviews
July 12, 2013
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

There Comes a Prophet is about 3 friends who set out to find the truth about the Temple of Light, which controls pretty much everything in their society. People who question the Temple of Light or start to have free thought on anything are taken by the vicars to have a teaching.

Things I enjoyed about the book were when Nathaniel, Thomas, and Orah set out on their journey with the clues on the scrolls that would eventually lead them to the keep (a place they hoped would answer all of their questions). I was interested in seeing if the characters would be able to decipher the clues and finding out what the clues actually meant. I also enjoyed when they finally found the keep and the description on how the keep worked. I thought it was cool that they could ask pretty much any question on any subject and they would always get an answer.

Things that I thought could have been done better was making the characters more relatable. I didn't really feel a connection to them. I didn't care when Thomas found music, Orah found astronomy and space travel, and Nathaniel found maps with an ocean on it. I wanted to hear their thoughts more and have some kind of internal struggle about The Temple of Light. I also thought that there shouldn't be any hints of a romance between Nathaniel and Orah. There should either be a romance factor to the book or none at all. I also felt like their should have been more of a villian whether it was The Temple of Light as a whole or one individual and I wanted to hear their thoughts too.

I was also left wondering about what horrible event happened that would make the society regress so much and why that event happened. It was too broad to say something Terrible happened and the Temple of Light took over. How terrible was it? It must have been horrible and many people must have died if no one remembers anything about what it was like before.

Finally, when the three start their rebellion, I wanted to know what it said on the posts that they left in the towns. I found it incredibly frustrating that the reader never actually gets to read what supposedly makes the citizens decide to rebel against the Temple of Light. Especially when 300 people from Great Pond all march to Little Pond and basically save Nathaniel, Thomas, and Orah from getting stoned by their own neighbors. The posts must have said some pretty incredible stuff to make an entire village march to another town in order to kick out all of the deacons and vicars. Meanwhile, the town the kids grew up in, which hadn't read the posts yet, were ready to stone them to death. And even the Temple of Lights cars and motorcyles, which the townspeople had never seen before, weren't enough of a distraction to stop the majority of people from stoning their neighbors. What was on the posts that made Great Pond the heroes?!?!?!

Overall, the book was okay, but I had too many questions when I was done reading. It has the potential for greatness if a few small tweaks are made.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lili.
446 reviews49 followers
December 7, 2012
This review is going to be short and sweet for several reasons. Firstly, I did find this book to be enjoyable and cute. Secondly, I don't know how else to describe it besides "cute," and I say that because it almost seems as if this book is geared more towards a younger section of young adult readers than it would be older young adult readers. There was not much of a romance, no cussing, nothing scary, and I didn't feel as if the characters were ever in danger. This is one of those books that is wonderfully simplistic, but that's all there is to it.

I had a huge love for the characters. We follow the journey of three best friends and watch how their friendship grows. It's beautiful to see such a pure and loyal group of friends that isn't often found among literature full of scheming friends these days. Orah, Nathaniel, and Thomas will do anything for each other and are undeniably forgiving. All completely different, they come together to create a great cast of characters that work together wonderfully. With that being said, I felt emotionally unattached to them. While they were very willing to bend over backwards for each other and I loved that, I just didn't connect with them. I wish I did because they were so unique, but this is one of those books that despite its simplicity and greatness that came hand in hand with the simplicity, I just couldn't connect with them the way I wanted to.

I also thought the concept of the dystopian world was very interesting. This is a world where the governing power that controls everyone does it through religion. They are the light that is saving everyone from the previous darkness. It was all very interesting and, for once, I wasn't turned off by religion in a novel. While this body rules through religion, it isn't overbearing and the corruptness of it all is fascinating. It easily kept me engaged and helped me breeze through this novel.

Litwack gave us a very enjoyable tale that is a nice read, especially for a rainy day. It showcases the importance of loyalty and friendship while the characters embark on a journey that can literally change the world. It's simple, light, and quick, and I truly believe it'll easily appeal to a younger audience. This book is recommended to those looking for a light, quick, and unique dystopian.
Profile Image for Liana.
Author 2 books16 followers
November 28, 2013
First of all, I'd like to thank the author for giving me a chance to read this book by generously sending me a free copy!

Originally, I was planning to take a huge break from dystopia because I was getting a bit tired of the genre. But, oh well. Here I was, reading a dystopian book. LOL.

Honestly, this book was actually pretty good.

Character discussions-

Nathaniel-- He's great, and I kind of think that I didn't get to know him well enough. But he's a great character, always ready to sacrifice himself if it meant saving someone he cared about.

Orah- She's a really strong character. But sometimes I felt as if she was always the damsel-in-distress.. But now that I think about it I realize that she couldn't have done anything in her situation. She's really smart and I don't know where the guys would be without her.

Thomas- I would call him the Ron Weasley of the trio. He likes food.. a lot. And no matter how unimportant and burdensome he may seem, everyone will end up loving him. He's there when everyone needs him, and there when no one needs him as well. You gotta love Thomas.

After I finished this book I looked back at the title and cover picture and now realize how much sense it makes. It's really symbolic. Although it's not the most gorgeous cover

David Litwack did a really good job of creating this dystopian world with its own little mix of 'magic'.

I wish there could have been more romance. Although the few romantic parts were really cute, I felt like it wasn't enough. Well, of course, for a romance fanatic like me. I kind of felt like the kisses came out of nowhere, though.

This story emphasized a lot on friendship and loyalty, and betrayal as well. It was such an important aspect that I don't know what would have happened without it.

Overall, it was a really entertaining read.
Profile Image for Melysah Bunting.
212 reviews5 followers
October 2, 2012
There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack is a story about a world ruled by The Temple of Light. The past was full of darkness. The temple must protect it's people. But at some point protection can turn into domination.

Three friends from Little Pond set out on an adventure as seekers. They are to find the keep which is knowledge from the past. The vicars are not so happy about this.

Nathaniel is a big dreamer. He seeks to become a hero. Orah is very intellectual. Thomas is much simpler.
Thomas is the only one who has had a teaching which is a coming-of-age ritual. It teaches what the darkness supposedly is. The only way home is to betray a friend.

Once the friends find the keep they must make decision. Should they stay safely in the keep? Or should they start a revolution by teaching people the truth about the darkness?

"If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light." -The Book of Light

I really enjoyed this novel. The writing was good. The plot was intriguing. The pace was on point. I really liked the characters. I am interested in religion and philosophy. I am a fan of dystopian too.

There's some adventure and a bit of romance. The friendship dynamic is sentimental. The action of the vicars hunting the seekers leaves one on edge. An emotional roller coaster!
Profile Image for C.p. Bialois.
Author 21 books236 followers
July 29, 2013
In a world that’s been kept peaceful for a thousand years by the church, Nathaniel always wanted more out of his life. He regularly dreamed of being a knight and hero to his friends and neighbors, but he never felt inclined to follow that path until his friend Thomas is taken for a teaching.

When Thomas returns, his dreams are ripped away and Nathaniel’s other close friend, Orah, is soon selected to be taken for her teaching. In an attempt to save her, he approaches the vicars and is thrown in their dungeons where he meets the first keeper of secrets from a bygone age.

As a huge fantasy fan, I loved the premise of the book and it didn’t disappoint. The three friends face many trials as they attempt to avoid the vicars and follow a hidden path to a keep built by the remaining scientists following an age of technological marvel.

As most fantasy tales do, this story makes us look at how future generations may view us. In Nathaniel’s world, the past was filled with nuclear wars and other atrocities. There Comes a Prophet is a dystopian novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
255 reviews27 followers
May 26, 2013
This was an interesting novel about a dystopian world in which almost all technology has been lost and the world is ruled by a single religion. Three teenagers set about to discover the keep...an ancient repository of human technology and knowledge. I won't give too much away but I will say the pacing was great and the book covered a great deal of story from their friendship, their village life, their discovery of the keep and it's keepers, their dealings with the religious authorities, etc. The characters were also very well developed and easy to relate to. The world building was great and I really liked the way the author handled the characters discovering parts of the technological past like a road or street light.

Overall, this was a great book and one that really held my interest. I read the majority of it in a single day as I couldn't put it down. If you like dystopias and fantasy, you'll like this one.

NOTE: I got this book free in exchange for an honest review.

See my reviews at http://www.michaelscifan.us
Profile Image for Kate.
11 reviews5 followers
July 5, 2013
Disclaimer: Please note that I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Overview: Three friends Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas set out on a quest to discover the truths about their world.
Dystopia/Fantasy Novel
The government has been taken over by a group of religious leaders. Their goal is to make sure that Little Pond doesn't go back to the time of destruction and chaos. But when three teens Nathaniel, Orah, and Thomas set out on a quest to discover the truth about their world; the small village of Little Pond is changed forever. As the friends are on their quest they discover what their leaders have tried so hard to erase from their history.
It's a great book book about adventure, friendship, magic, and even a little romance!
10 reviews1 follower
May 29, 2013
This was a fun read. A little predictable, but it definitely kept me engaged. I enjoyed the characters Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas, but I would have liked a little more depth and character development as well as more depth into Orah and Nathaniel's love relationship. I especially liked the way the author created a dystopian world in a different way than most authors. This dystopia was created by the powers that ruled versus a natural or manmade catastrophe. The story left the author the ability to easily write a sequel and if one comes out it would be be on my books I need to read list. Overall, it was an Easy read and a fun book.
Profile Image for Raina {The LUV'NV}.
211 reviews41 followers
March 20, 2013
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up There Comes a Prophet . Was it truly a dystopia like many have tagged it to be, or did it just brush the popular genre? What's with the Fantasy label, as well? And why the Sci-fi cover, along with biblical nuances in the summary? All of it together intrigued me to no end; I just had to grab the chance to read it. And I'm so glad that I did.

There Comes a Prophet   is unlike any dystopia I've read. It completely surprised me by encompassing everything above and so much more. Set in a village known as Little Pond, with children playing, people trading homemade goods, planning festivities, and seemingly content, the beginning of the book reminded me of the beginning of Lord of the Rings—even more so when the three main characters set off on a quest across the country, leaving their small village and everything they've ever known behind, not knowing if they'll ever return.

Yet, as soon as Peter leaves Little Pond, that fantastical, peaceful setting merges with the Dystopia genre. The characters begin to question, in earnest, the government that rules them. The secrets begin to leak out, and the foundation of the world as the characters know it start to crumble. I love how the author wrote his Dystopian novel this way, with the fantasy first. The shift was fitting. Peter's known as a dreamer. He dreams a world outside his own and fantasizes being a hero. Then he starts to realize how utterly daunting it is to be a hero, how different—how exciting yet sad—it is to discover a bigger, better world than the one he envisioned. And it's one that's long gone, with only the demolished cities as the remains and the history of great civilizations held in a well-hidden Keep.

Once he and his friends find it, the Sci-fi kicks in—well, not in the true sense of Sci-fi. There are no aliens. There aren't even wizards or mages like the summary and the Fantasy label might suggest, either. It's supreme technology in the eyes of the characters. This was another aspect I absolutely loved about this novel. If a person has never seen or heard of a phone, a voice resonating from an object would seem like magic. Since cars and trains supposedly never existed, they wouldn't be known by such a name but described as a really fast wagon or a snake. It reminded of The Book of Revelation and how any prophet would describe what he saw but couldn't name.

But religion, of any type, isn't heavy or high-handed in this book—though it is what made this Dystopia so unique and enjoyable. Instead of a totalitarian or tyrannical government that needs to be overthrown, it's a theocracy, and the focus is not theology but philosophy. The phrases and themes were so amazing that I've bookmarked and sticky-noted this book more times than I can count.

I would've liked if it was longer, though. I'm not sure how to explain it, but while the pace was well done and all three characters had fantastic individual growth, the book felt ... short. It didn't lack anything, per se, except for maybe the typical YA romance, which I actually appreciated and still got the feels from when it did happen; the instances were rare, but that's what made each time so special and stand out. I was more than satisfied by the ending, too. But somewhere it lost the epic feel that was building throughout, and that made me bring the rating down half a star, albeit reluctantly because I floved the book.

There Comes a Prophet has so many profound themes, lovely characterizations and relationships, as well as story-telling, I am astounded by David Litwack's talent to capture it within 265 pages. I'll be reading more of his work and putting There Comes a Prophet on my to-read-again shelf. It's a must-try for Fantasy and Dystopia fans looking for a quick, unique, thought-provoking read.

Favorites lines (out of many):
"Like a foolish parent, to save us from wickedness, they've given us a world of limits and not a world of possibilities."
"If none of this happened, if we were free to go and resume our lives, what would you have wished for most?"
"Do you think it's a good idea to dwell on thoughts like that?"
He considered a moment. "Our dreams may be all we have left."
"Very well," she said. "Then here's my list. I'd like to win a race at festival as an adult; to have you win someday ... to go with you to explore the mountain pass and discover the great ocean ..."
Her voiced trailed off. When nothing else was forthcoming, he assumed it was his turn.
"My list is short. If none of this happened—no teachings, no vicars, no seekers, no keep—I'd have been content to spend the rest of my life with you."

*Finished paperback copy provided by the author. Thank you, David!
*Review also posted on the The LUV'NV blog.
Profile Image for William Bentrim.
Author 64 books62 followers
April 25, 2020
There Comes a Prophet by David Litwack
This is a dystopian novel of a future theocracy. In a time of strife, the world’s churches set aside their difference and compromise on a unifying religion. This religion ends up stifling all progress. This is the setting for the quest of three young people to discover the truth about their world.
In a world with out war, why would you want to make any changes. In a world without creativity why would you NOT want to make changes. The characters in this book are young, naïve and romantic. There lives are disrupted by the church and Nathaniel sacrifices himself for his undeclared love.
The evil clerics are not wholly evil as their society is not wholly wrong. There are enough arguments to provide food for thought.
This was interesting, not captivating but worth reading.

Profile Image for Julie Witt.
477 reviews9 followers
November 11, 2022
I loved the premise of this book - a future dystopian theocracy - and although I thought some parts could have been explained a bit more, I enjoyed it very much. The characters were likeable and the plot moved along at a nice pace. The world building was very well done, and the conclusion was satisfying.

Enjoyable read - 4/5 stars.
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