This book was hard to put down, despite pressing calls on my time. Yes, it’s science fiction (which some readers disparage from ignorance). Yes, it’s dystopian and post-apocalyptic, which brings it into line with the current belated surge of interest in climate change, now recognised as an emergency.
The story revolves around a group of social survivors, mostly misfits, who provide transport to move goods from one place to another. They work under danger, pressure, and with a self-sufficiency entirely to be expected in the world depicted.
Those familiar with my reviews will know what matters most to me as a reader of fiction is empathy with at least one character. Here, following a group of eight distinct individuals, all with history, biases, and flaws, I found I could identify with all on some level.
The story is driven (pun intended) by the characters’ individual responses to the need of their mission: basically, an attempt to cross hostile lands and deliver vital medicine to an isolated group of disease-threatened scientists who just may have the means to put the world back on course for humanity.
The author delves deep into his imagination, clearly fed by extensive research, to portray the sort of society that could result from our current climate emergency. This world is intolerable, with a climate that has made water a vital resource, with all the expected gang violence such need always brings. Food is scarce, poor, and monotonous.
As they make their way through the barren landscape, they face many different barriers and are forced into situations of life and death, where a false move could result in the end of their vital mission.
Well-paced, strong, balanced and utterly credible, this narrative held my attention all the way through. The denouement is moving, tense, unexpected and inevitable.
Those readers who harbour doubts about our future will learn of potential futures here, and hopefully come on board. Those already sensible enough to understand the ramifications of our excess and irresponsibility will find a novel that entertains, educates, and satisfies. A really good read that everyone should experience.
I wrote this review based on an advance reading copy the author sent me.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]