Spoiler Alert – do not read these questions until after you have read the story!

  1. In the Areas, religion has been banned, supposedly for the sake of world peace. What do you think of this arrangement? Have you heard of any countries where practising religion is illegal?
  2. What do you think it would be like to have to meet in secret, as the church has to in the Areas? Would you be part of a secret religious group, if you lived in a place where it wasn’t safe to practise your faith openly?
  3. What do you think of the faith of the Christian characters in this book? Do you think their circumstances made them more earnest than people who have only ever experienced freedom of religion? If so, why?
  4. Freedom is a very precious thing”, said Amma. What do you think of this statement?
  5. One of the themes running through this book is trust in God. Do you think there is a God who cares, and who is in charge, ultimately, of everyone and everything? How do you think that idea fits in with free will? Give reasons for your answer.
  6. Who could you compare Walt and Sheva with in real life? Do you think things should have been fairer in the Areas? If you were on the Council, what changes would you make?
  7. The Elite in Area IF208 kept their Workers ignorant of many things that were going on. Do you think it is ever reasonable for governments and authorities to do this, to keep order in difficult circumstances, or is it always unacceptable? Give reasons for your answers.
  8. The World Council may have been well meaning to begin with, but ideals had clearly begun to slip by Year 0033, in favour of the Elite. What do you think of the idea of “human nature rearing its ugly head” (East’s phrase)? Why do you think the ideal of no slavery wasn’t adhered to? Do you think human nature can change? If so, how?
  9. Do you know anyone charming like Solod, who deceived Chella for his own selfish purpose? How can people avoid being taken in by con men and women?
  10. Deception and secrets abound in this book. Solod uses deception to get what he wants. Lavitah appears to have many secrets, and East deliberately withholds information. When do you think it is OK to have/keep a secret, and when is it not acceptable?
  11. Chella and Jedan both keep back things that they are ashamed about. At what point in a relationship should people start to be really open with each other? Is it possible to do this too early? What risks does that have? What are the risks of waiting too long?
  12. This is a work of fiction. Are there any elements of this story that you think could not happen? Why not?
  13. Can you identify with any of the characters in this book? In what ways? What can you learn from their individual story?
  14. How did Amma, Jedan and Chella cope with making such a life-changing decision in such a short time? Do you find it hard to make important decisions? What are the key things to remember when doing so?

Thanks to Brenda Lord for her help in compiling these questions.

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