A book review of The Sky People by Terry Goodkind
The best gift often comes in the smallest package, and this new novella by Terry Goodkind stays true to that adage. In a little over one hundred pages, he explains humanity – it’s motivators, traditions, and downfalls. In doing so, he reminds us of what we need to do to improve this crazy world we live in.
The letter of the law
On a planet, not so different from our own, live tribes of people that bear a striking resemblance to Native American tribes. People, from yet another unnamed planet, who are much more technologically advanced, visit this planet and give the Sun tribe a set of rules, much as a parent instructs a child. The Sun tribe has been following these rules blindly ever since. Until the chief’s daughter breaks the rules and shows them all that it’s not the letter of the law they need to follow but the intent.
The importance of intent
As a nation, we are reminded that it is important to stand up for what we believe. Not standing up means people with ill-intent can take advantage of you. But, it is important to keep the intent of laws in mind because hiding behind the letter of the law is just as bad as choosing to commit a criminal act. Such as when the Sun Tribe would not defend themselves from other tribes who stole their women and killed their young men. Killing was against their laws and they did not differentiate between murder and self defense.
Peace is not for the weak
Peace can be achieved if you are strong because only from a position of strength can peace be achieved. It seems counter intuitive but it is the nature of humanity. If you are willing to fight back, it makes your oppressor think twice. This is what Raging River showed the tribes. She stood up to the chief of the Wolf Tribe, mapping out what a war would look like, and then proposed peace and a meal to celebrate. This was only possible because River was able to contact the Sky People using ancient technology she found and the Commander who responded was able to clarify and explain the difference between intent and rules.
Terry Goodkind has provided readers with a reminder of what’s important. How you read it, what lessons you take from it, will in large part be determined by your own personal worldview.