A novel focuses on eco-terrorism in the Pacific Northwest.
According to activists like Sapphire MacKenzie, nature is in trouble. With corporations destroying the environment for profit and the government unwilling to stop them, it is apparent that drastic actions are in order if the Earth is to stand a chance. For many demonstrators, this means agitating for an autonomous region to be known as Cascadia. And while Sapphire insists on methods of peaceful protest, some advocates, like Garfield “Garf” Taylor, do not mind resorting to violence. Garf and his associates have a penchant for using explosives to establish their point, even when the consequences can prove deadly. Caught up in this fight is Chris Soles. Known to many by the alias of Chris Cadia, he is a legend of sorts, largely due to his affiliation with psilocybin mushrooms, a connection explained in Penney’s (Walking Away from the King, 2014, etc.) previous novel. As unrest grows in the country, much of its fomentation is attributed to Chris. While he is a friend to the Cascadia movement, he is hardly responsible for blowing anything up. He, along with his companion Kiri Thornson, is nevertheless tracked by powerful forces, and where all the campaigning, aggression, and paranoia will end is anyone’s guess. Full of topics that are particularly current (such as prominent people buying influence in government and a rising concern about the environment), the book presents a realistic plot. While some characters can be distractingly dull (including the villainous Theodore Dellenbach, who insists blandly that “profits are what it’s all about”), the story is fueled more by a desire to learn what will transpire next than by any particular player. Seeing how far some will go to try to save the planet while tracing how opponents plan to stop them provides steady tension that is not resolved until the very end. Although neither of the extreme views garners much sympathy, it is in this clash that the reader can draw striking parallels to the contemporary world.
While this environmental tale delivers some forgettable characters, it creates a strong narrative with a lasting impression.