A woman braves a waterlogged world to find her daughter in this dystopian adventure novel.
More than a century in the future, when the coasts and the cities along them have been completely flooded and countries have been “cut to half their size” by the ocean, raider ships prowl the seas creating new colonies by separating families, seizing property, and brutally murdering anyone who resists. Myra and her younger daughter Pearl, however, are just trying to get by: They live on a boat and barter their fishing hauls at trading posts for valuable supplies. “I don’t join groups and I don’t care about resistance,” Myra tells a friend. She learns that her older daughter, Row, who was taken by Myra’s husband seven years prior when Nebraska finally flooded, might still be alive—but to reach her, she must make a treacherous voyage north to a raider colony known as the Valley near what used to be Greenland, an iceberg-dotted journey impossible in her too-small boat. But when Myra and Pearl join a ship called the Sedna, led by a charismatic but troubled man named Abran whose goal is to found a new settlement untouched by the violence of raiders, Myra suddenly faces a new set of problems she’s unaccustomed to handling. How can she justify changing the Sedna’s course for her own ends as the bonds she forms with the crew deepen? How can she fulfill her responsibilities to both her missing daughter and the daughter she still has? And can she manage to lay down her fundamental distrust in a world where everyone has his or her own objective? Debut novelist Montag manages to marry page-turning drama and emotional depth, vividly imagining a world where society rebuilds itself from scratch and history repeats, where bubonic plague flares up again and rope and sailcloth and antibiotics are all coveted goods, and where everyone is moving on in some way from insurmountable loss. “I keep thinking it feels like climbing a staircase while looking down,” one woman tells Myra about losing her children. “You won’t forget where you’ve been, but you’ve got to keep rising. It all gets further away, but it’s all still there”.
A fortifying affirmation of human endurance in the face of our dire climate prognosis.