What a wonderful story. This is my first experience reading Dickinson's full-length work, and he is just as masterful here as he is in the short story category. He certainly has a fertile imagination, and has used it to full effect here. The Valley, in which our main characters live, is a vibrant, safe habitat where the desolation and cruelty of the neighboring Empire have been shut out...for just twenty generations. It is up to two children and their grandparents to seek out those who can renew this protection. Dickinson has invested the story with such urgency and need that the narrative doesn't easily let the reader go. He doesn't insult his audience with a pat ending, choosing instead to address the complexities and politics of the world he created. His characterization is thorough and detailed, as is his imagery. Dickinson is now on my "authors to watch for" list.