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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Science Fiction / General
  • Language:English
  • Series title:The Sheltered Cities Series
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:514
  • eBook ISBN:9781543911831
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543911824

The Doorkeeper's Secrets

by E. L. Morrow

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Secrets abound in 2094. The welfare of human life hinges on the behind-the-scenes actions of five people: a medical researcher, a former-CIA agent, a U.S. Senator, a disgraced military officer, and Marie, a Doorkeeper. People are not always what they seem. Marie's secrets include some unusual abilities she is just discovering. She must solve the mystery of her origins, the extent of her capabilities and the agenda others would force on her if they uncover her true identity. It's a lot of stress on a 19-year-old in the first week of her first job.
Doorkeepers play a vital role in ensuring health and safety in the Structured States. Each Keeper remotely unlocks doors, confirms schedules, and arranges transportation for 500 to 1000 residents. But they are also emergency responders. This is what distinguishes them as an "Essential Service." Coordination of crisis responses is where they shine. Doorkeepers expect the unexpected. At age 19, Marie expects a year of service as a Teaching Assistant. But her TA role abruptly ends after only six weeks. A sudden, mysterious death creates a vacancy. Wichita, Sector 86 needs a Doorkeeper. Having finished first in her class, Marie is the obvious choice. She knows the Keeper's secrets. But Marie has other secrets. Her full identity has been kept from others all her life. Now she is "seeing" things impossible to see, and "hearing" sounds never made. Trusting these "flash visions" saves lives and solves problems. "But where do they originate? Am I going crazy? An alien? A witch? Or just lucky?" These are Marie's questions as she starts work where her every move can be watched and every word overheard. Once on the job, it becomes more complicated. Maintaining an orderly life, always important to Marie, becomes nearly impossible. Within minutes of starting work, her ingrained idealism confronts harsh reality. Marie finds herself at the center of a mysterious tangle of secrets and deceptions. In three days, she uncovers oddities involving her origin. By her ninth day, she flees for her life. Along the way, Marie must discover who to trust and what to believe. She draws on an internal fortitude unknown until now. Depending on her friends, old and new, keeps her from collapsing under pressure. Life in 2094 is secure. Most citizens live in sheltered cities, constructed to protect from the extremes of the weather. Everyone has a job, housing, transportation, medical care, and safe food. In addition, there is a welcome absence of violent crime, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, debt, and taxes. These accomplishments are a direct result of the "Plan for the Future" enacted in 2061. The basic values of collaboration, compassion, justice, and respect have become the guiding principles of the social contract. In return, individuals accept some restrictions, including passive surveillance and at least annual sessions with a physician, nutritionist, and counselor. All work has requirements. All must "re-qualify" to continue their position through education and supervision. No one is exempt from supervision or educational expectations: whether teaching, parenting, repairing streets, or administering a university. Everyone must stay up to date in their field. Those unable or unwilling to live by the principles and restrictions may relocate to one of the eight "Un-Structured States." When living under "the Plan" everything is valued by its contribution to the Common Good. In the other states, everything is judged by its contribution to the increased wealth of the few. Under "the Plan" poverty has been eliminated, but the Plan prohibits the amassing of wealth. Influential people are working covertly to undo the Economic Justice Principle and the Plan itself. Marie and her friends support the Plan. The struggle forces her to challenge those who would put all life on the planet at risk to become wealthier. The survival of humanity may depend on which perspective prevails.
About the author
E. L. Morrow retired after 48 years as a consultant for human relations, conflict management, and group developmental issues with not-for-profit and volunteer organizations. Growing up in Florida and spending most of his working life in midwestern states has given him an appreciation for the miracle of food and the tenacity of the human spirit. He lives in Wichita, Kansas with wife, two corgis, and two cats. Storytelling has always been an interest. The Doorkeeper's Secrets is his first novel speculating on the challenges and benefits of a collaborative future.

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