Six months after the events in series opener The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (2014), the Tribe is thriving; then Ember Crow fails to return from a scouting mission, and Ashala and Connor, searching for answers, make a discovery that upends what they thought they knew about their friend and their own history.
When rumors of a man claiming to be the Serpent, a rebel supporting the Illegals, reach the Tribe, they know he’s an imposter, a fictional decoy they’d designed themselves to mislead the government. Ember, who’s gone to check this story out, instead of returning, sends Ashala a memory message stone via her dog, Nicky, saying she thinks she knows the imposter’s identity. Should Ember fail to return, they are not to look for her. Ashala’s determined to help anyway, but it won’t be easy. Her Sleepwalking (active dreaming) ability is becoming unreliable, and her snake grandfather’s warning to “beware the angels” confuses her. Ashala will need more than her ability, he says; she must understand her power. Searching Ember’s lab presents new mysteries. When a strange young man arrives with a longer message from Ember, Ashala realizes it’s time to act. While this second act’s pacing is slower and the plot’s political machinations more complex than the first volume’s, it’s seasoned with enough intriguing speculation—what do we mean by “human”? When and why might we want to revisit that definition?—original worldbuilding, and sympathetic characters to hold reader interest.
Fresh and fascinating. (author note) (Indigenous futurism. 12-18)