A clever homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel, set in a post-apocalyptic future Europe.
In a distant future where most modern technology has been lost, Sophia Bellamy, 18, leads a double life. By day, she is a young woman of the Commonwealth whose arranged marriage will save her family from debt. By night, she’s the daring Red Rook, who rescues prisoners from the bloodthirsty revolutionaries of the Sunken City (which once was Paris). However, LeBlanc, the Sunken City’s fanatical Ministre of Security, has tracked the Red Rook back to Sophia’s home in Kent. Now Sophia must protect her family and the prisoners she has just rescued and determine whether her sly, all-too-charming fiance, René Hasard, is an enemy or an ally. Cameron (Unseen, 2014) riffs off Baroness Orczy’s sentimental classic without losing any of the romance and adventure that has made it perennially popular. Rich descriptions bring Sophia’s world—from the horrors of the Sunken City’s prisons to her glittering social milieu—to Technicolor life. Sophia’s wits and bravado make her an irresistible protagonist; René proves to be a worthy foil, though unfortunately the same cannot be said of LeBlanc. Still, the novel’s 456 pages mostly fly by thanks to the nonstop intrigue and the occasional swoon-worthy kiss.
Full of derring-do and double crosses, this romantic adventure is thoroughly engrossing. (Science fiction. 13-18)