Seeklight Analysis
by K. W. Jeter

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The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Seeklight is the story of a quest for identity by Daenek, scion of an assassinated thane, or clan leader. The action occurs during some future time on an Earth-like “seed planet,” to which human genetic material, or seed, was transported while shepherded and nurtured by protective robots called priests. The priests’ job was to protect the genetic material until the ships landed on a planet suitable for human life, at which time they initiated the birth and reproduction of the human race, initially through cloning.

As the story begins, “bad priests,” or robots who have begun to attack and murder their human flock, appear in several villages surrounding the countryside where Daenek resides. Also floating about the countryside are sociologists, winged, angel-like creatures that observe the human population, take notes, and conduct interviews but remain separate from the general population. The human population has formed small villages, each with its own language but conducting commerce with one another.

The story is about Daenek, at the beginning of the novel a young boy who lives with the Lady Marche outside a village and near a stone quarry where many of the local villagers, called mertzers, work. Daenek does not know why he is so despised and shunned by the local villagers. The only reason he perceives is that he is the son of an alleged traitor. The precise nature of his father’s crime—and hence his own—remains a mystery. His guardian, the Lady Marche—whom he suspects is his true mother—remains silent on the subject, except to assure him that his father was a great man and that the charges against him are false.

Daenek acquires few companions, though he is befriended for a while by a mertzer named Stepke. Daenek learns that Stepke was a follower of his father. On the day before Daenek’s seventeenth birthday, some of the local governor’s henchmen come seeking him. It is revealed that he is to be put to death at the age of seventeen, by an agreement between the Regeant—who usurped his father’s power—and the father. Lady Marche effects Daenek’s escape, but not before she is killed. Before she dies, she gives Daenek a chain, on which is a key, and tells him that should he find the door it opens, the mysteries of his father’s death and his own origins will be solved.

Daenek flees and manages to make a narrow escape from the henchmen before being picked up by a traveling caravan, an immense overland ship that buys products from the villages and transports them to the Capitol. He becomes a...

(The entire section is 672 words.)