Lost Paradise
by Sheryl Knowlton
Trafford Publishing

"She decided to go dance and succumb to the rhythm of the drums and the uplifted voices chanting and singing, and go with the flow of the music lilting through the fresh spring air."

Taking place nearly ten millennia ago in an ancient city in Western Asia, this book follows Sheluna, a fourteen-year old girl being groomed to become the next high priestess in her city of Holy Ground. The city is ancient yet progressive, believing in socialist democracy, freedom of expression and religion, and law by committee. Sheluna must perform one last ritual to enter the priesthood, and after she does so, she uses her gifts in working with animals to amaze and earn the continued respect of her fellow villagers. When the opportunity presents itself, the renamed Shelana travels down to a nearby bazaar where she discovers new ideas, new animals, new people, and a new love in the form of a young traveling merchant who wins her heart.

Despite being set in early human history, this book has a lot of concepts that can be easily put to use in modern society. Though it may not be advised for younger readers do to content regarding sexual activity and the use of drugs and alcohol, the messages of self-confidence, discovery, and co-existence are powerful reminders of what the human race has always strived to become. The combination of a location in our non-fictional past with a fictional story make for an enlightening read. This book appears to be an early taste of a continuing series, but it has an interesting form of conflict dictated almost more by the world we live in today than what the characters are dealing with, and this provides an interesting contrast that spurs the reader on.

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