It’s 2092 and the world order has collapsed. Climate change has led to famine, drought and immense changes in the climate. Disease has ravaged humanity; the animal and plant population have been decimated by disease. In Boston hordes of angry, violent and scared people queue for a daily food hand out. In Chicago they queue for a chance to collect uncontaminated water. Neither population know that the last ice cliff is about the fall and take out the sea level populations the government has abandoned to their fate.
Across the maelstrom of the Boston streets Sharon and Eve must get to Dr Ryan, Eve’s only chance of getting the leukaemia treatment she so desperately needs. When they stop to help a starving child the army grabs Eve because of her Asian heritage; the government has issued orders for all Asians to report to an internment camp in Chicago. Despite her determination to rescue her wife, Sharon lets Dr Ryan talk her into leaving it to him and returns to their farm in Maine. But when bandits target the farm she soon sets out west to search for her wife and becomes embroiled in a power struggle that will affect the future of humanity.
This is an epic combination of DUF, action adventure and science fiction. The world is one we can clearly recognise as a possible future if the worst-case scenario comes true, with the decline of the bees, the failure of antibiotics and the melting of the icecaps. World wars over food and water resources, countries redrawn into gigantic territories, uncaring governments who simply cannot feed or protect the general population. Only those with money or a special resource or skillset have value.
Sharon, central to all, is as deeply flawed as any, believing in her moral compass she has to recognise that when it comes to survival she will go way beyond what she thought were her boundaries to survive and save her wife. Having led a somewhat sheltered life, despite losing her parents to the plague, her brothers to violence and betrayal, she has not really faced the extremes of survival in a completely hostile environment.
A wide cast from brainiac survivalists fighting to save what remains of the world to evil megalomaniacs, from lost children to grieving mother figures, makes for interesting reading and a wide gamut of emotions from hope to beyond despair. Sharon moves through all of them on her journey to save Eve, and each touches and impacts her life, bringing out both her humanity and the extremities of her will to complete her almost quest like journey.
The world creation is impressive, horrendous and yet fascinating, calling up our worst fears for the future. Prescot has created a future of nightmare vision yet one we can, unfortunately, imagine coming true. The landscape literally plays a role in the plot and we can never forget that the earth is central to the tale.
I have to admit there were a couple of points which pushed my suspension of disbelief. I found the story of earth’s destruction and the human behaviours it triggered so realistic that the leaps of faith were a little too far-fetched. It’s a hard ask to mix something so credible, based in the reality we know could happen, with science-fiction level futuristic technology, the former was so completely believable that the later didn’t gel for me. But they didn’t distract from the overall story of human endeavour to survive both the environmental meltdown and the evil of a deranged man.
Fast paced, breathless energy, extremely well written and faultlessly edited, this was an exhilarating read and I literally couldn’t put it down.
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(publisher review copy received)