The Rosetta Codex
by Richard Paul Russo
Berkeley Publishing Group 2005
Cale Alexandros was five years old when his family's starship crashed on the prison planet Morningstar. His father and his nanny both died. Cale was picked up by a band of brutal prisoners and raised as a slave for many years.
Around the age of 15, Cale was able to escape and he began making his way to the divide - a huge chasm running across the planet that divided the large prison area from the smaller civilised area. The chasm or divide could be crossed only at certain points where the bridges had been built. These bridges were under heavy guard.
As a slave, Cale had never learnt how read and write. Fortunately one of the first people he met on his travels was an anchorite woman who was living an austere life. she taught Cale the basics of reading and writing and showed him how many different languages has their own alphabets.
During his travels to the divide, Cale came across a building with some weird writing on the walls. By the walls was a large concrete tomb which Cale opened, Inside was a books make of metal pages. Cale tried to read the book but did not know the language. So he buried the book under ground and vowed to retreive it some day.
By the time Cale was 20 he finally reached the bridge to cross the divide. Once on the other side, he settles in the city of Morningstar, and begins looking for a group of people called the resurrectionists.
This group beleive that the city of Morningstar was built on the ruins of an ancient alien city, that they have been digging beneath the city trying to find alien artifacts.
I think you have found the alien city, said Cale.
What makes you think that?
Because I think I have seen an alien artifact myself.
On the other side of the Divide.
Cale takes the resurrectionists back across the Divide to the place where he buried the book, and they bring it back to Morningstar. By now Cale is 22 years old and it is time for him to take his rightful place amongst the stars.
He travels back to his home world and takes over the family business (which had been run by his mother after her husband and son died). Cale builds a ship, hires a crew and they go looking for the planet of the ancients following the star maps in the alien book.
You will have to read the book to see what happens at the meeting. But I did enjoy this story.