A young soldier is drawn into a dangerous conspiracy that borders on the supernatural in Lalor's (Philo Mae, 2007, etc.) thriller set in the future.
In 2199, a series of wars, religious conflicts, and subsequent environmental disasters have left the North American continent completely restructured. The most powerful of the new nations formed from the former territories of the United States and Canada is the Great Lake Alliance. Eaza is a young fisherman there, and when his young sister, Lydia, begins experiencing visions of a prophetic ghost, it draws the attention of the Guard—the GLA military—who fear that the visions will incite hysteria among the country’s religious minority. Eaza is forced to join the Guard in order to protect his family; he excels in the ranks, but his superiors still hold him under suspicion. The government’s scrutiny also focuses on the NFN, an organization that aims to overthrow the GLA government and whose true purpose may be even more nefarious. When Lydia is kidnapped by the GLA in order to silence her prophecies, Eaza becomes a fugitive and works with the NFN to find her and unravel the true nature of the visions—which he now sees, as well. Lalor’s portrait of the future extends the narrative’s prophetic themes, looming heavily with religious overtones and symbolism. He clearly paints a portrait of a layered, dystopian society that has roots in contemporary concerns about religious extremism and environmental conservation. Its portrayal of life and technology in the near future isn’t so far removed as to feel entirely alien, but it still firmly places the novel within the sci-fi genre. The novel’s pacing drags at times, partly to devote time to worldbuilding and contextual exposition, and the narrative struggles to build suspense or lend vigor to its many action sequences. The plot does offer a couple of twists that deepen the conspiracy, and the ending is left somewhat open to accommodate planned sequels. However, it may be difficult for readers to feel invested in the ultimate outcome.
A complex but stilted entry in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi subgenre.