A focused story that has a single
purpose, and goes about fulfilling that purpose, with a bit of new
information along the way. The suspense comes from trying to find out
how they go about doing it, because the ultimate outcome is almost never
in question. The two main characters make it work, because they go well
together and their characters are always consistent.
continues more than a year after the events of
No Time to Give Up, in
which the survivors of the world holocaust find a city fully prepared
for them with houses stocked with food and everything they could need to
start a new society. The spheres are gone, though Cory isn’t convinced
of that, and they have given knowledge to the kids to pass on to the
There are only a couple of short chapters at the
beginning of the book that deal with the community in Windsor. Knowing
the author, I can see how he set up the kids teaching adults in the last
book, as a reference to the way a karate student must let go of ego to
be taught by one who has more knowledge, no matter the age difference.
In that way, we will put a forty-year-old white belt under the tutelage
of a sixteen-year-old green belt. The true karateka will accept this. In
this book, one person cannot, and he leaves the community. I wonder if
we’ll see him again.
The bulk of the story deals with Cory and
Shannon’s exploration of the lands as she goes to Sudbury to see the
place where her parents’ home was. The entire story was shorter than my
preference, but it didn’t need any more substance for what it set out to
do, so I guess it was just the right length. It would have been nice to
see some continued progression within the Windsor community, so that we
can see the evolution when they return, but that was not the author’s
The book starts with an accident, where Cory is caught in
an underground trap set by some anonymous person, probably before the
spheres started doing their culling of humanity. Shannon catches the
brunt of an explosion that frees him, and Cory spends the next several
days caring for her. The major discovery here is that the spheres
couldn’t disintegrate anything that was underground, so there must be
plenty of stuff still around in various cities around the world. Here,
he is able to gather medical supplies and nutritional supplements to
heal Shannon, though it still seems way too quick to me.
in the book, I was seriously wondering if the author would kill off
Shannon, the love of Cory’s life. Not only would that devastate Cory,
and change him irrevocably, but I think it would devastate the readers,
too! I found myself hoping that she would live, as it was far from
certain for a while.
When Shannon is healed, they make their way
up to Sudbury with the dog that befriended Shannon. It’s convenient for
the rest of the book to have such a well-trained dog, but it doesn’t
come across as too much of a plot convenience, as the dog plays more of
a search-type role, rather than a protector. It’s able to remain quiet
I also enjoyed the implied intimacy between Cory and
Shannon, which continues from the previous books. The reader is able to
read as much as he/she wants into the situations, and it will probably
fly right over younger readers’ heads.
The main plot kicks into
gear when they discover more survivors, in the form of women gardening
at night, with the men holding the whips to them. Some of the women are
pregnant, and all are mistreated, which of course boils Cory’s blood.
Cory is something of an idealist. After putting together the kind of
just world he’s been brought up in, there is no way he’ll let an
injustice like what he sees in this book pass by. It also makes for a
great feeling when he succeeds. Rob and Shannon know this about him, and
even though he puts himself in danger because of it, they accept it as
an essential part of him.
Cory and Shannon (and the dog) watch
the women and men through a home-made blind, in which they see that an
apparent orange sphere is actually a hot-air balloon, though I don’t see
any evidence of it before Shannon makes that statement. Then Cory sneaks
into the mine, and finds the eight women, five men, and tons of
supplies, including military-grade weapons, and a well-stocked freezer.
Ken is in charge, and it’s he who gets the women pregnant and beats
them into submission. He’s an easy character to hate, which I think is
the point. Cory is trapped inside the mine, but his presence is not
detected. Shannon stays outside, and tries to sabotage the air intakes
and emergency exits. She is discovered, but is saved by a gunshot from
elsewhere. I thought it likely the gunshot came from Kai, whom we hear
in the opening chapters is preparing to go out in search of Cory and
Shannon. But it turns out it’s Rob, though he’s accompanied by Kai and
Arthur. It was a good bit of misdirection, much like Shannon’s injuries
at the beginning.
Cory and Shannon coordinate from inside and
out, along with Carson, a man who got caught up in the band, but tried
to treat the women well. One of the women gives birth, which gives
Carson and Cory a chance to meet. They get Ken’s group so riled up that
Rob is easily able to overpower them, no matter that they have rocket
launchers at the entrance to the mine. The final conflict is
well-planned, with enough deception and changes of loyalty to keep it
realistic. It’s over very fast, which is probably more realistic than
the long and drawn-out fights in the movies. Part of what makes it work
is the discord between the bad guys, in that evil will always turn on
itself. Ken is paranoid about revolt from the other men, and Carson uses
this to their advantage.
Rob manages to calm the women, who have
been so brutalized that they think they are not worthy of joining the
community in Windsor. Cory and Shannon prepare a meal of steaks from the
freezer in order to welcome them to the new world, and they plan on how
to bring the stockpile of stuff from the mine storehouse back to
There are some random things that bothered me, but
mostly it’s in the style of writing, which is still maturing, and not as
polished as it could be. For example, some of the characters are given
names before they are properly introduced. Like when we are first
introduced to Kevin as a speaker, nobody has yet said who Kevin was.
Many pages use the pronoun “he” or “him” a lot, even when there are
multiple characters, or even the dog. This leads to confusion in the
character that the author is talking about.
There is a moment
when Cory says that “after what happened in Toronto and Windsor” the
spheres can’t be trusted. I don’t recall anything happening in Windsor,
except the group of survivors arriving. I don’t recall anything major
happening after they arrived, so I’m not sure what it’s referring to.
As before in these books, I find it somewhat jarring when the point
of view changes for a paragraph at a time. This happens several times
when the POV switches between Ken/Kevin within a Cory/Shannon chapter,
and it happens briefly enough that I wondered if it was necessary or if
there was another way to do it.
This is probably not a concern,
but for new readers who don’t want to start at book 1, it might be a
little confusing to be dropped into the story where it’s never explained
how the world ended. As the continuation of the story after a trilogy of
books, it might be worth adding a little more backstory in appropriate
places. It didn’t bother me, but I’m aware of what went on earlier.
I enjoyed the story for what it represented, and I look forward to