While defending her resources in a lawless world where water is a rare commodity, Lynn learns about life and humanity.
Ever since Lynn was a small child, she’s known the hard truths of the world—chiefly that anyone who approaches her mother’s pond leaves thirsty or dies, by Lynn’s gun if necessary. Besides her mother and a single neighbor, visible only at a distance, Lynn has more experience with the coyotes than with other people. Two bands of strangers appear near their land; one group, armed, encroaches on Lynn’s land, so she must be ready to protect her beloved home and water source from attacks that could come at any time, providing urgency and tension. After a tragedy forces her to team up with her neighbor, Lynn learns that the other group is just a trio of refugees who have no idea how to survive in the wilderness and will surely die without help. Despite her mother’s hard-nosed teachings, Lynn finds herself with growing compassion for them. The third-person, past-tense narration gives the story a gritty tone, and the only break from the realism comes in the form of characters who can successfully dowse for water. The epilogue jumps to a future that fulfills Lynn’s character growth.
A high-quality survivalist story for readers who enjoy internal story arcs as well as external dangers. (Speculative fiction. 13 & up)