Review Blog

Apr 28 2010

Xisle by Steve Augarde

cover image

Random House, 2009. ISBN 978038561062.
Recommended. Set in a nasty future where men must give up their boys in the hope of a better life on the island nearby which still has much of the remnants of twentieth century life, this is the story of two such boys, condemned to a fate of bone crunchingly hard work until they are of no further use to those on the island. Much of the world has been inundated after a series of extreme weather events has pushed the water level to cover all they know. The family on the island makes a living diving for goods beneath the water, and the boys are traded from what is left on the mainland, useful because of their size, shape and cowed demeanor.
The island is a great refuse dump; full of the flotsam scavenged form beneath the waves, and traded across the known lands nearby for precious diesel and fresh food. Those with oil have power but the family has even greater power, and the father, called Preacher John, believes in sacrifice. The two boys, Ray and Baz, support each other through their grim days, until, finally pushed to the limit when one of their kind dies, they decide to take revenge. The boys build a bomb and hide it on the diving vessel, ready to take the family and the divers down with it.
With overtones of many of the better dystopian stories and echoes of Lord of the Flies, this story packs a punch as the boys must take the law into their own hands. A long read (480p) it will however be readily snapped up.
Fran Knight

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