The Homeward Bounders, by Diana Wynne Jones; Reviewed by Leah Merrill
In this high stakes science fiction novel from the ever inventive Ms. Jones, twelve year old Jamie Hamilton discovers a secret he should never have known. His world-and every other world-is just a game played by the mysterious demon "Them." Wars are played out in turns, and the loss of life is dependant on the toss of dice.
Classified as a "Random Factor" and exiled from 'play,' Jamie is left to wander an endless stream of worlds until he can find his own way home. An unnerving call pulls him forever onwards.
Learning the ropes and the rules of the game, Jamie encounters the Wandering Jew and the Flying Dutchman, both relics of the system. Even though it is forbidden by the rules, he secretly forms an alliance with two fellow homeward bounders: dark and angry Helen who bears a terrible gift, and inexperienced Joris, a demon hunter obsessed with his master Konstam.
As they begin to understand and control their own powers and travel rapidly between the worlds, the three friends decide there is only one way to defeat their enemies and break the never-ending cycle. They must find "Their" headquarters, discover "Their" secrets and beat "Them" at their own game.
Leah Merrill won second place in the Sept'09 book review contest at Plaza.