Below the Root (novel)

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Below the Root
First edition
Author Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Illustrator Alton Riable
Country United States
Language English
Series Green Sky Trilogy
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Atheneum
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 231 pp
ISBN 0-689-30457-9
Followed by And All Between

Below the Root is a science fiction/fantasy novel by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, the first book in the Green Sky Trilogy. The 1984 videogame Below the Root is based on the book series.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

Raamo D’ok, a 13-year-old Kindar boy, learns that he has been Chosen due to his unusually strong Spirit-force abilities. He will be joining the ranks of the Ol-zhaan, Green-sky’s elite ruling class. The next day, Raamo returns to the temple as instructed where he meets the other Chosen, Genaa. Raamo begins to receive penses from a shadowy figure who is glad to see his strong Spirit-powers, cryptically announcing that he has also chosen Raamo.

During Ol-zhaan training, Raamo learns that Genaa's father is dead, captured by the Pash-shan, feared creatures that live trapped below the ground. He also receives news that his sister Pomma has been ill, possibly with a disease called “the wasting.” She has participated in healing ceremonies with Ol-zhaan D’ol Neric, to little avail. Raamo sees Neric walking one day and tries to talk to him, but receives a pense telling him to stay back, revealing it was D’ol Neric who had pensed him before.

During the Ceremony of Elevation, D’ol Neric again penses Raamo, telling him to return to the great hall after dark. At their secret meeting, Neric tells Raamo that the Ol-zhaan are hiding secrets about their loss of Spirit-skills, the health of the roots that secure Green-sky, and the nature of the Pash-shan. He learned this by overhearing a meeting of a secret society within the Ol-zhaan, who call themselves the “Geets-kel.” On a clandestine trip to the forbidden forest floor they find a young, weeping, dark-skinned girl named Teera, apparently a kidnapped Kindar child. Raamo and Neric take the frightened Teera back up to the trees and hide her with Raamo’s family.

Genaa discovers the existence of Teera and, in the interrogation that follows, learns that Teera is not a captured Kindar but in fact a Pash-shan herself. Teera tells Genaa that her father is alive and has been living among the Pash-shan. Returning to the forest floor, Genaa has a joyful reunion through the vines with her father, Hiro D’anhk, who was drugged and imprisoned below the root by members of the Geets-kel. Genaa, Raamo, and Neric commit themselves to exposing the Geets-kel and work toward freeing the Pash-shan and Genaa's father.

Raamo has a nighttime meeting with the highest member of the Ol-zhaan, D’ol Falla. She leads Raamo to a hidden room containing history books and relics from a more violent Kindar past, including metal weapons. She tells Raamo that after colonizing their new planet, Kindar society was split into two factions. Eventually the first group imprisoned the second beneath the roots of the trees. She has come to the conclusion that the Spirit-powers in Green-sky are vanishing because of the separation of the Kindar population. Calling on Genaa and Neric to emerge from the shadows where they had been eavesdropping, D’ol Falla says she has been made aware of the group's activities by Geets-kel spies and that their purposes will soon be exposed. The four of them begin discussing plans for reuniting the Kinder and Pash-shan.


  1. ^ "Below the Root". Lemon Retro Store. 16 June 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 

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