In a flooded, post-apocalyptic United Kingdom, a young boy travels from his marshlands home to the Capital to make his way in the world as a government-approved seer.
Silo also hopes to find his father, a man he’s recently realized is probably an outlaw. The narrative sticks closely to 10-year-old Silo, a pale, blue-eyed, white boy whose webbed feet and ill-reputed extended family gave him a difficult start in life in an island birthplace home to just a few families subsisting on eels and little else. His new status as a seer takes on a sinister meaning as he realizes what the government is up to. Silo is an endearing hero, determined to do the right thing and nimble enough to change course when the right path beckons. Peyton’s humor, both wry and broad, and her frequent application of cartoon grossness like vomit and sewage add a contemporary spark to this Dickensian adventure. Hints about the pre-Catastrophe world include references to the distant, possibly mythical Us of Ay and, amusingly, to the game of goatball, a sport modeled on one the ancients played involving getting goats in nets. The rollicking climax is a battle fought on the rigging of two ships run aground on Ludgate Hill after a pursuit under sail through what remains of London.
Convincing, humorous, and appealingly odd. (Science fiction. 9-13)