Of Stars and Clay Book Discussion Questions

Below are questions to help get the conversation started at your book club or group. General questions are provided at the end.

CHAPTER 1 — Amazon Jungle

  • The author asks the reader to believe that a virus can be spread through the use of planes. Do you think it’s possible to spread a virus around the globe in one day?
  • How does the fishing episode convey the relationships between Zachary and Takwa (the rival hunter), his father-in-law, Pahtia, and the tribe?

CHAPTER 2 — Curator’s House

  • What does Haruto’s reluctance to marry Billy tell you about her, and their relationship?
  • How does Haruto and Father Chong’s interaction at the temple set the tone for their interactions later?
  • The owl means different things to Haruto and Billy. Is the owl a sign from the universe? (One strange example of the owl’s meaning is found within the secretive, real-life Bohemian Society. Its members include the top 1% of the 1% richest people as well as leaders, influencers and past US presidents, such as Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. The Bohemian Society members put on priest costumes and worship a forty-foot-tall Great Owl of Bohemia statue, which looms over a bonfire and burning coffin as they perform a mock sacrifice. Their motto is “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here” [notice this theme in Tom’s storytelling in Chapter 3]. This men-only event takes place every July in Northern California.)

CHAPTER 3 — Spider Webs

  • Tom tells a story about a spider that spins webs to keep the stars in place, but she loses a star and goes after it. In her absence, a sneaky spider takes control. What does each spider represent? Is the missing star symbolic of someone or something else?

CHAPTER 4 — The Amazon Bruja

  • Does Conchita overreact to the death of her son and father?
  • When the Blue Morpho butterflies rest on Eva, does it make you wonder if she has special powers?

CHAPTER 5 — The Soldiers Arrive

  • When Haruto rings the bell to warn the Mikos of the soldiers approaching the temple, does her action inflame the situation? Or would it have played out the same?
  • Bechard the fallen angel appears for the first time. Judging by Billy and Haruto’s reactions, what kind of relationship does this couple have with him?
  • The soldiers inject Haruto and Billy with electrical currents and a sedative, and then drag them away from the temple. If the soldiers understood the underlying factors would they have acted differently or still followed orders?

CHAPTER 6 — Outcasts

  • Zachary and Eva are outcast from the tribe. Is this symbolic of being cast out of the Garden of Eden, especially after being bitten by a snake?
  • Eva convinces the jaguar to save Takwa. Should she have?
  • The caiman’s presence is interpreted by Zachary as threatening, yet the creature only wants to rescue them. What does this say about perceptions and preconceived fears?
  • Does Pahtia’s earlier prediction that he would reincarnate as a caiman lead you to believe he is the caiman that helps Zachary and Eva?

CHAPTER 7 — To Hell and Back

  • Why do you think the alien scientists are performing experiments and taking bodily samples from Haruto and the other women?
  • When Haruto magically returns to her home at the temple, her fellow Mikos seem more concerned about how her reappearance affects them (soldiers coming to look for Haruto), than how they can help her. Are their concerns justified? Would you have reacted the same way?
  • Bechard makes his second appearance and offers advice to Haruto. Should he help her more?

CHAPTER 8 — Leaving the Temple

  • A strange windstorm prevents Haruto’s presence from being detected by the soldiers who are patrolling the city. Do you think the windstorm was a natural occurrence?
  • When Haruto visits Father Chong at the parsonage, he opens up his home to her. Should she have been honest with him about trying to escape from the soldiers?

CHAPTER 9 — Darkest Before the Dawn

  • When Zachary is discovered by the missionaries on the shore of the Amazon River, he is near death, yet with their help (and Bechard’s), he recovers. Why does the author keep putting people who follow different belief systems together?

CHAPTER 10 — The Desolate Reservation

  • The Bear Claw First Nation tribe members being taken as prisoners by the soldiers is eerily reminiscent of when the Native Americans were imprisoned on the reservations in the late 1700s through the early 1900s. Is the author making a connection?
  • Why do you think the tribe members are taken?

CHAPTER 11 — Haruto’s Transformation

  • Father Chong and Haruto seem to have a good relationship after spending time in each other’s company. What is the author saying about tolerance?
  • When Haruto asks Father Chong whether a fallen angel could be forgiven by God, is she really talking about Bechard?
  • Haruto transforms into an invisible state when she hears the soldiers storming through the priest’s house towards her. Does every great transformation take a traumatic event for it to occur?
  • When Haruto learns she can transform herself, she believes herself to be invincible. Does this mean she has become immortal?
  • Was it foolish for Haruto to expose herself to the soldiers just so she could test whether or not they could detect her presence?

CHAPTER 12 — Zachary’s Transformation

  • When Zachary transforms, his body crumbles like brittle clay. Clay is mentioned in the text of an ancient Sumerian tablet. It reads:

In the clay, god and man

Shall be bound,

To a unity brought together;

So that to the end of days

The flesh and the soul

Which in a god have ripened –

That soul in a blood-kinship be bound.

In addition, clay is mentioned in the Bible: “And then the Lord God formed man from the clay of the earth, and he breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7. (Some Bible versions use the word “dust” instead of “clay”.) Clay is also in the title of this book. What does clay represent?

CHAPTER 13 — Together Again

  • The main characters seem to have little in common with each other—all come from different backgrounds and cultures. What do they have in common?
  • Is the Bear Claw reservation a good place to hide out?

CHAPTER 14 — Our Origins

  • Bechard explains mankind’s origins to the Earth Sentinels. What parts of his explanation do you believe to be true: Ancient astronauts, genetic engineering, chemtrails, aliens/hybrids living among us, soul extraction, Illuminati, government coverup?

CHAPTER 15 — Practicing

  • The Earth Sentinels have acquired amazing powers, yet know very little about them. If you discovered you had these powers, what would be the first thing you did?

CHAPTER 16 — Scouting

  • Haruto and Zachary discover inner earth. Is this place physically possible?
  • Why Didn’t Bechard tell his fellow Earth Sentinels about inner earth?

CHAPTER 17 — The Galactic Council

  • The Galactic Council speaks about the Law of Oneness: “Many people have pre-planned their destinies so however we proceed must honor that, even if it seems cruel, even to them. We don’t want to Interfere.” Does this mean that the Galactic Council can’t directly help people? Is that why they need the help of the Earth Sentinels (humans)?

CHAPTER 18 — The Tribe’s Rescue

  • When John is scanned by the UN leader, the label “Level 4” comes up on the tablet screen. What do you think is the criteria for “Level 4”?
  • What do you think the purpose of the detainment camps is? Do you think they are a temporary or long-term solution for the Dracos’ agenda?

CHAPTER 19 — Rescue on the Reservation

  • Do you think the military jets were sent in response to the tribe members being taken from the detainment camp? Or were they bombing all the settlements?
  • Would human soldiers be willing to bomb their own countryside?

CHAPTER 20 — Saving John

  • John is taken to a food processing plant where he is told he will be employed. Why do the hybrids guide the unsuspecting victims through the “employment” process?
  • Do you think it would be hard to recruit employees who would be willing to kill humans for food?

CHAPTER 21 — Saving Billy

  • Haruto’s “tour” through the aliens’ headquarters gives her insights into their prison system, genetic experiments and military structure. Is this valuable information for understanding what is going on behind the scenes? Does it help you to better understand the Dracos?
  • Zachary and Billy reunite after being apart for five years. What kind of relationship do you think they had in the past?

CHAPTER 22 — Finding Shelter and Food

  • Of all their options, Tom and Cecile choose teepees instead of houses or mansions to bring to inner earth for their tribe members to live in. What does this say about them?

CHAPTER 23 — Revisiting Japan

  • Why are the Mikos resistant to Haruto’s invitation to live in a new, safer location?
  • Was Haruto too blunt when informing Father Chong about the aliens and their control over religion and society?
  • What do you think about the biblical references Haruto used to support her claims? Is it possible the Bible, Torah, Quran and other scriptures were written about the same ancient astronauts instead of a divine creator? Do you think there could be another interpretation?

CHAPTER 24 — Faulty Alliances

  • Are the chest and Destiny Stone symbolic of anything else? Is the chest what is referred to in the Bible as the Arc of the Covenant?  (“Ark” is the Greek word for chest.)
  • Do you think it is wise to form an alliance with the fallen angels in order to obtain the Destiny Stone?

CHAPTER 25 — Lord God Abaddon

  • What insights to Bechard’s personality do you gain from his interaction with the fallen angels’ ruler, Abaddon, who happens to be his cousin? What do you learn about Abaddon?

CHAPTER 26 — Display of Powers

  • Tom showcases the Earth Sentinels’ powers to Abaddon, who agrees to give them the Destiny Stone in exchange for their magical abilities to transport/protect him and his soldiers. Zachary obviously has reservations. Should he follow his heart instead?

CHAPTER 27 — The Destiny Stone

  • The Destiny Stone’s strong powers has killed many in the past. Why doesn’t it harm Haruto?

CHAPTER 28 — Killing the Dracos

  • The Earth Sentinels use the fallen angels as assassins to avoid doing the dirty work themselves, but are they just as guilty?

CHAPTER 29 — Hagsmar Prepares for War

  • Abaddon gets into his hovercraft and leaves before the human armies attack. Why do you think he leaves before the battle has even begun?
  • Abaddon tells his soldiers he will “unleash hell”. Do you feel his words are figurative or literal?

CHAPTER 30 — Plan B

  • Although Bechard doesn’t claim to be the leader, he plans the EMP attacks. Why does everyone listen to his counsel?

CHAPTER 31 — EMP Attacks

  • Would you use the EMPs more broadly (other than just focusing on the military bases) to speed up the process?

CHAPTER 32 — Plan C

  • Should the council have ordered the death of the Draco leaders first, and then the UN leaders?

CHAPTER 33 — New Recruits

  • Earth Sentinels members are recruited to help mankind. Would you be willing to do the same despite the dangers?

CHAPTER 34 — UN Replacements

  • Is killing the UN hybrid leaders necessary? Is there a better way?
  • Who does Tom want to kill personally?
  • The author introduces the trolls in Miramar, the rock folk who live in a valley, and the blue-skinned four-armed warriors of Ventura. Did these glimpses offer a better understanding of what it’s like to live in inner earth?

CHAPTER 35 — Replacing the Crystals

  • Do you think the Seven Wonders of the World are located on sacred vortexes (Colossus of Rhodes, Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Lighthouse of Alexandra, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus)?
  • Do you think it’s possible the earth has an energetic grid?

CHAPTER 36 — Mari Saves Herself

  • Mari decides to save herself, but only after nearly drowning. Do you think earth’s rising vibrations help Mari to choose life instead of suicide?

CHAPTER 37 — Conchita

  • Is Conchita’s excuse for not being with her family when they were thrown out of the tribe good enough?
  • Does Takwa get what he deserves?

CHAPTER 38 — CERN

  • Abaddon is waiting for something to come through the tunnel. Any idea who or what it might be?

CHAPTER 39 — Rising Vibrations

  • Do you think the rising vibrations will fulfill the Earth Sentinels and Galactic Council’s mission or cause another problem?

GENERAL QUESTIONS

  • Was the dialogue crisp and engaging?
  • Did the plot have twists and turns?
  • Could you put the book down?
  • Are you excited to tell a friend about it?
  • What was your initial reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately or take some time to get into?
  • How did you feel about the characters? Which ones do you like or not like, and why?
  • Which character did you relate to the most, and what is it about them that you connect with?
  • Did the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
  • How did the characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger these changes?
  • Did the events in the book reveal the author’s worldview?
  • Do certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why do you feel this way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
  • Do you like the book? If you read any of the author’s other books, how does this one compare?
  • What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What do you think of those choices? How would you have chosen differently?
  • How authentic are the cultures represented in the book?
  • Why do you think the author wrote this? What is her most important message?
  • How do you think the characters’ points of view are similar or different from the author’s point of view or background?
  • Are the characters’ actions the result of freedom of choice, destiny or adherence to traditional beliefs?
  • Is there any moral responsibility that was abdicated?
  • Are there any symbols that may have cultural, political or religious reference? e.g. owl, crucifix, Destiny Stone and its chest, crystals, inner earth, colors, etc.
  • What tone did the author set with her choice of words? Is it optimistic, pessimistic, prophetic, cautionary, darkly humorous, depressing, cathartic, other?
  • How do you feel about the ending? Would you have stopped there?
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