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Publisher's Summary

One act of courage can change the world.

The year is 2048. Climate change and bio-warfare have ravaged much of the Earth, and societal meltdown has splintered the US into fragments. But out of the ruins, Northern California has built a thriving culture based on respect for the four sacred things: air, fire, water and earth.

The Fifth Sacred Thing is an epic tale of freedom and slavery, love and war, and the potential futures of humankind. It tells of a 21st century California clan caught between two clashing worlds: one based on tolerance, the other on repression. It is both a love story between two people and a war story between two opposing ideals.

©1993, 1994 Miriam Simos (P)2016 Miriam Simos

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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  • Jay
  • Oklahoma
  • 09-19-16

My Favorite!

I have read the paperback of this book 8 or nine times and given away as many copies. I was initially nervous that the audio version might be substandard, but I should not have worried. The story was incredible. The reader did an excellent job. She saying when they were singing. She read an animated different voices. I highly recommend this!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim Cyr
  • Medicine Hat, AB Canada
  • 10-14-16

Stunningly beautiful and rich with optimism!

What did you love best about The Fifth Sacred Thing?

Connection to character development and the story immediately drew me into this epic adventure. From start to finish, I looked forward to my daily visits to the pages of this book, reading it in paper form first. And now being able to immerse myself and my partner into the electronic pages having the story told to us is even more special.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed how the story wove in and through a story of hope and of optimism. Even in times of fear and terror, the way in which Star Hawk created the environment and the individuals inside of that environment was one that kept me awake at nights. Wondering what was going to happen next. Diving from the heights of pain and the scary possibility of a possible future and existence. To swimming and surfacing in the pools of love and acceptance and joy that we, as a species, have the potential to become.

Which character – as performed by Maya Lilly – was your favorite?

Bird was my favourite. The hardships he faced and the shifts of love and acceptance that he entered into when cradled in his community and the people that helped to shape his life. I can only imagine the fear and uncertainty that he faced in so many ways, to again be able to love and let love into his world.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh my goodness... yes. But to be sitting for 21hrs... not so easy. It is something that can be visited and re-visited very effortlessly. Like a television series or movie that you can pause and be with for a time, then return to it's beauty and imagery that is created in the telling of the story.

Any additional comments?

I think it is a very special thing when we can be read to. Told stories to. Share in the feelings as translated from someone's voice when being told a story. It is something that we begin our lives with as small ones, the sharing of imagination and story telling... to then learn how to share these journey's with others as we grow. Taking us back to a time of innocence, comfort and being held in a space of wonder and curiosity.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful story & perfect storyteller

The story itself a little slow to start but feels a little like present day. Beautifully written though. Maya does an amazing job at telling the story with different, distinct voices for each character. Well done!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring and applicable

Story: Really nice character development and insights into the struggles that we all have in communication and growth as we strive to be better humans. Explored and described equality in daily life, alluded to the path that some modern practices (medical and governmental) could lead us if not resisted. Very beautiful depiction of a utopian society and the structure of how it worked (which was appreciated greatly).

Narrator: The narrator did a great job of representing a vast variety of characters, sexes, ages and attitudes. Used some nice techniques to make voices sound like they were coming from the back of the room or far away, even a voice for a character with a speech impediment. Perfect narration for for subject - soothing and peaceful for the characters of that ilk, and variably strident, aggressive, dry, old, sad, or just palin desperate for the wide variety of characters in this lovely book.

Highly recommend for those looking for inspiration, strength, social diversity, or a model of how life could be when we finally tire of insanity.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I thought it would be more mature or profound.

Although I sincerely appreciate the positivity of this book, which is hard to find these days, I found the flakey "spirituality" too much, including some of the super flakey hippy voices created by the reader.
Although the overall idea is important, the shallow aura-reading-trying-to-get-grounded- spirituality has little depth to it. I have to keep turning it off - I am trying to finish the book in case there is something profound in the end.
I may be too old for this.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Finally on audible!

I have loved this story for over a decade and was so happy, but a bit nervous when I heard it was coming out in an audible form. I was not disappointed. Maya Lilly (this cannot be her real name, but brilliant!) was amazing. You will be moved.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This is an important and wonderfully written book.

Being a conscious hippie from California, I understand implicitly the culture shown in this book. The pardigm is expressed so well and the drama is real. Explore this book with an open heart and rewards await.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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most important book of modern times

a book for brave souls who have the courage and willingness to peek into a world that is not so far off from our own and come to terms with the harrowing realities of it, and also be inspired by what is possible. also, the narrator is wonderful

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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so terrifying and inspiring and educationcal

so terrifying and inspiring and educationcally esoteric. scary to think about but good practical advice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating dystopian; strong characters and plot

Madron is a young healer who lives in a future San Francisco that has become an isolated, utopian society in a broken world. Madron lives with her friends and lovers in a multifamily home. Their matriarchal head is Maya, who is nearing 100 years. Maya is of Native American ancestry and has shared her history and stories of the past. She is one of the elders who choose to pattern their community on peace and respect.

Their community thrives as they care for and share the four sacred things: air, fire, water and earth. The people all share in the work; there is no racial division, no crime and no poverty. Some have more than others – not much – but all have enough. No one goes hungry or in need as friends and neighbors help whenever a need exists.

But the communities beyond them are a threat to their way of life. Maya’s grandson, Bird, who was Madron’s first love, left the community at age 19. He and several others determined they must stop the power plant that was leaking radiation and poisoning the lands. It has been ten years since anyone has had word about that group of young rebels. Madron moved on to other lovers but Maya is convinced that Bird is still alive. Madron and others use special “witch” or magic powers in their healing arts. Madron is battling a new virus in the city that she believes was introduced by their enemy neighbors, the Stewards.

The Stewards are the corporation communities who have taken over surrounding cities. The Stewards are controlled by the few wealthy elites who use everyone else in a slave society. They subject women to breeding pens where the children are removed to be raised, trained and mind conditioned for the Steward’s army.

The author moves from Maya and Modron to Bird’s dire situation in prison. Another prisoner helps to shake Bird from his drug induced memory loss. They escape and Bird meets other resisters as he makes his way back home. People are thrilled at his return but are soon distressed by his news that the Steward Army will soon be coming to take over their city. The city council, with a voice for everyone, must decide if they will arm themselves for the fight or find another way to face the enemy.

The author created a fascinating future world with divided communities showing a spectrum from the best situation of sharing to the worst, brutally and chemically controlled polarized situation. In between there are pockets of struggling rebels and “monsters” (disfigured outcasts).

Soon after I began listening, I knew that this story presented a world that I might not be totally comfortable with. Although I believe in spiritual healing, I do not tie that into magic and mysticism. Maya and Modron’s family relationships are very near a ‘coven’ though not necessarily declared “witches”. Their free spirited, sexual openness contrasts sharply with the other communities which are portrayed as sexist, racist and repressive.

It is interesting that this was written back in the 1990s. The writing flows as the author portrays the situations and characters with rich detail. Starhawk created very engaging characters and plausible situations based on our society’s divisions. I wanted to follow the characters struggles to see how they faced the greatest challenge. I loved their special defenses and am glad that I selected this book to review.

Audio Notes: Maya Lilly does a superb job with the narration. The voices are varied with the characters and she even sings beautifully, sharing and enhancing the characters. The narration enriched this story and I highly recommend listening to this unique story.

I received this audio book from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox. My rating 4.5.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mrs j paterson
  • 07-18-17

Grippingly brilliant

Would you listen to The Fifth Sacred Thing again? Why?

Yes

What did you like best about this story?

The message

Have you listened to any of Maya Lilly’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Listen up while there's still time

Any additional comments?

Please get the sequel "City if Refuge" on audible asap .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • mark
  • 10-23-17

Awesome utopian adventure

Such a great book. Brilliantly read too. I really hope they record the sequel - City of refuge

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • kewina
  • 12-06-16

Excellent story and good telling

An excellent story well told and very apt for these times of major change in the worlds' politics.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss.N.M.Young
  • 11-24-16

Beautifully Apt in These Dark Times..

Full of hope.. beauty.. love.. truth and connection.. A stunning story wound around the premise of living in harmony with each other and All Our Relations.. Cutting and honest.. not afraid to name the darkness faced in cruel hearts, minds and actions.. Or the paths that led to those states of being.. The fierce inner and outter battles we face in this and every day.. in our past.. and stretching into the future.. all seem aptly bound in this masterful story telling.. one can only hope that love and truth will eventually win in the face of adversity.. and evolve into a kinder future..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful