YOUNG BLEYS is the seventh novel in Gordon R. Dickson’s Childe cycle. Dickson has said the series will consist of twelve novels: three historical, three contemporary, and six future. However, this is the seventh of the future novels to appear. Dickson proposes to present a fictional history of the development of an improved human species that accepts complete responsibility for its being and actions.
YOUNG BLEYS is about Bleys Ahrens, the mixed-breed antagonist of THE CHANTRY GUILD (1988). Earth has colonized a number of planets, and these have divided themselves into groups that cater to and emphasize different aspects of humanity. The Dorsai warriors emphasize bravery and physical/mental training. The Friendlies are religious dissidents who emphasize the life of faith. The Exotics are philosophers who cultivate of wisdom and peace. Bleys combines the abilities of all three groups, suggesting that they have contributed to his obscure genetic background. In THE FINAL ENCYCLOPEDIA (1984) and THE CHANTRY GUILD, Dickson developed the character of Hal Mayne, chosen and trained to become the hero and uniter of the various human cultures. Mayne has behind him the wisdom of the three cultures, while Bleys is self-chosen and mainly self-educated.
Bleys envisions reforming and uniting humanity under the leadership of the extraordinarily talented people emerging from the mixed breeds, but his limited background and self-education scar him, making his vision of a human future frightening, despite his sincerity and talent. This novel shows Bleys growing up and preparing himself for power. As he assumes leadership of an organization of mixed breeds, he encounters the mystery of Hal Mayne.
Though the book is interesting, especially if one is familiar with the rest of the cycle, it suffers from over-development and repetitiveness, making it longer than it should be.