Review Blog

Oct 26 2016

The road to winter by Mark Smith

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Text, 2016. ISBN 9781925355123
(Age: secondary) Recommended. Thriller, Dystopia, Survival, CLimate change, Virus. After sheltering a girl he finds on the beach, Finn must work out a way of surviving with another person who relies on him. But a group of enraged men comes searching for her. 90% of women have been killed by a virus after climate change has caused untold damage along the coast. Finn was prepared when he and his father locked away goods and equipment, and now with both parents dead, Finn has a safe place. But the girl, Rose, adds another level of complexity to his survival, and while getting to know her, each reveals a little of their background and what has happened to Australia.
A dystopian novel bringing in themes of future climate change, refugees, survival, the story is a classic thriller, with two people trying to evade capture by a group of men who resort to appalling violence to get what they want. Finn unexpectedly finds another group of survivors, but who can he trust? Some of this group does not trust him, others see a young man who can work on their farm, others reveal their humanity, but the extreme views within the group concern him. Only when Ramage shows up with his gang does Finn take action and leave, but this time with two more girls in tow.
He returns to find that Rose is missing and with her baby due anytime, they set out to find her and what happened to her in the safe place.
A real page turner, the book grabbed me from the start, impelling me to find out what happens, driven along with the theme of survival and all it entails living away from any vestige of law and order.
Behind the story is the thread of what has happened to these two sisters, Rose and Kas, asylum seekers with electronic tags, sold to the highest bidder to work on people's farms, or worse, treated as slaves. This part of the story will certainly have readers thinking about the possibilities of what happens to refugees the world over, encouraging a more humane approach to their plight. Teacher's notes are available at the publisher's website.
Fran Knight

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