What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

This topic is about Torch
SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. Post-apocalyptic Olympic Games quest. [s]

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message 1: by Dave (new)

Dave Smith | 10 comments This book was read to me in the summer of 88 by my primary school (elementary school) teacher, so I'd have been aged 9. I remember quite a bit about it so this has a few spoilers. Because it was post-apocalyptic, no mention was made of countries, but it started in Greece, an old dying man gives some young'uns a quest to restore the Games or maybe more accurately find the spirit of the Games.

Ancient Greek death rites were performed on the man, which cleverly threw you off and made you think maybe these things occurred not long after the end of the ancient Olympic Games; the book slowly reveals itself to be set in the distant future after an unspecified event, maybe many years after.

The young'uns go on their quest, they have a couple of encounters along the way including finding a sporting competition that ends on human sacrifice and eventually end up in the British isles, I think. Then the book oddly ends in a slight damp squib declaring that they have found where they should be. It was read to me by the teacher at the time of the Seoul Olympic Games.

It might have been made in to a children's tv program, but I could be misremembering that.

message 2: by Kris (new)

Kris | 35176 comments Mod
Dave, what made the story post-apocalyptic?
Were futuristic technologies mentioned?

What do you remember about the main characters - kids/teenagers, siblings, gender, background/back story?

message 3: by Dave (new)

Dave Smith | 10 comments Hi Kris,

It was post-apocalyptic because they'd gone back to pre-industrial lifestyles, but there were hints, certainly strong ones towards the end of the book. When they get to the British Isles there's talk of huge roads, now cracked and overgrown with trees, that used to run through the land, called mowoways (a corruption of motorways, British for freeways).

In my original post, I mention that in this future, the Greek had returned to pre-Christian religious traditions, and I recall that when they sent the old man to "the afterlife" they did so with coins for the boatman -- is this the boatman for the river Styx?

As for the main characters, that's where my memories are hazier. They were young adults I think, there were three of them, they may have been related to each other, and to the old man. I think there was one female.

message 5: by Dave (new)

Dave Smith | 10 comments Thanks Kris, but alas, definitely not this one -- the cause of their post-apocalyptic society was not given, and was certainly not aliens. Enough time had passed that motorways became mowoways, and they were in ruins, had decades passed since the fall of civilization as *we* know it? A century?

While on their quest to find the "spirit of the games" or whatever their quest *is*, they do find another pocket of humanity where there are competitive sports played. They thought they had achieved their goal, but the winner of the competition was sacrificed to a deity, and they decided that wherever they were, the competition they had found was not in the spirit of the games. This is just one of the episodes within the overall plot.

message 6: by Ayshe (new)

Ayshe | 4229 comments Torch by Jill Paton Walsh seems likely to be your book?

message 7: by Dave (new)

Dave Smith | 10 comments YES!

Thanks for that - I know what I'm looking for now to re-read it.

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