Bian Shen is the first book in a trilogy about a group of children that have lived for thousands of years. Given both a miracle and a curse, they have been forced to live through history in the bodies of children. Not able to die, not able to grow up.
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They always stay the same sex, but their birthplace is completely random from time to time. One life one might be royalty in China, the next one’s a slave in South-America. They can die from injuries, just as normal humans, but they have perfect immune systems. They are also extremely intelligent. They look like children and in some way they are like children, but their intelligence, combined with their experiences of humankind throughout history, also makes them something very different.
Being so few (only 421), it’s not before the year 1784 that two of them meet, coincidentally being born as twins in Köln. They both quickly realize that their sibling is special, and their joy is immense as they for the first time can share their experiences with someone who can be trusted and can understand them. Wanting to stay in touch, they spend their lives planning for the future. They run away to Paris, where they use their skills and knowledge of humankind and history to infiltrate the Paris freemason lodge, creating a secret organization within the lodge. The two also believe that there might be more of them in the world, so they start leaving hints throughout the world about where more information can be found. And so they continued to expand the network as time went by.
It is the day before ARTHUR’s fourteenth birthday. He is the oldest sibling in a Norwegian family, with two sisters. He knows that tomorrow will bring a tragedy to his family, but there is nothing he can do about it. He has prepared some items, like a diary, which is actually written for his parents, to try and help them get through the grief. But then the most extraordinary happens. He wakes up, still being in the same body. He can’t really believe it and thinks that somehow his birthday is the next day, but when he is still there the following day, he knows that something fundamental has changed. And then he becomes sick…
NATHANIEL is a brilliant young man from the US, nearing the finish of his research project. He has devised a mechanism that can track humans from space using satellites, based on the assumption that human brain is so complex that it leaves a fingerprint that can be picked up. When his results show that the world only has 421 inhabitants, he can’t understand what has gone wrong. When he is exposed to the truth by one of the Children, a girl called RAVEN, he is forced into a dangerous world that goes beyond his wildest imaginations.
One of these Children, another boy, who has taken the name PAOLO, has for some reason been born at the wrong time, at the wrong place through most of his lives. He has always been present when humankind has been at its worst, be it concentration camps, slavery, human sacrifices, abuse, war and/or hunger. He has also experienced happiness and love, but the scale of atrocities humans has done diminishes everything. He hates everything, including himself, with an intensity that no normal human can understand. All he wants is to die. But dying is impossible, even madness cannot seem to hold him. But then he thinks of a loophole. After all, he is being reborn. If there is no one, one cannot be reborn. And he thinks humankind has failed, its capacity to destroy is so much greater than its capacity to create. His solution: wipe out every human on Earth, and his life will also be over. He has frightening intelligence, all the time he needs, and for some reason, he gets help.
ARTHUR is being woken up by something that calls itself the GUARDIAN. The GUARDIAN knows what PAOLO is up to, but for some reason PAOLO has slipped from his reach. ARTHUR is allowed to become an adult, because not only has PAOLO devised a realistic plan, but he is nearing its completion. And then there is the truth about the CHILDREN’s real purpose.
To start reading the book: Go to the ‘Bian Shen’ in the menu and choose the excerpt in the language you want to read it in.