Matt has always been nothing but a clone - an exact replica, grown from a strip of old El Patron's skin. Now, age fourteen, Matt suddenly finds himself thrust into the position of ruling over his own country, Opium, on the one-time border between the US and Mexico, stretching from the ruins of San Diego to the ruins of Matamoros. But while Opium thrives, the rest of the world has been devastated by ecological disaster… and hidden somewhere in Opium is the cure.
And that isn't all that's hidden within the depths of Opium. Matt is haunted by the ubiquitous army of eejits, zombie-like workers harnessed to the old El Patron's sinister system of drug growing... people stripped of the very qualities which once made them human.
Matt wants to use his newfound power to help stop the suffering, but he can't even find a way to smuggle his childhood love Maria across the border and into Opium. Instead, his every move hits a roadblock - both from the traitors that surround him and from a voice within himself. For who is Matt really but the clone of an evil, murderous dictator?
This highly anticipated sequel to Farmer's National Book Award winning The House of the Scorpion (2002) begins soon after the funeral of the drug lord El Patr n and the murder of nearly everyone who attended the event. Fourteen-year-old Matt, the dead drug lord's clone, was originally created to provide spare parts for El Patr n, but is now the Lord of Opium. Surrounded by people who have been surgically conditioned to satisfy his every whim, many of them mindless and virtually helpless eejits, Matt must come to terms with the deep immorality upon which his wealth is based, while fending off another drug lord, the rapacious Glass Eye Dabengwa, and a fanatical U.N. representative, Esperanza Mendoza. Complicating matters further are Matt's involvement with the beautiful eejit Waitress; his lifelong relationship with Mendoza's strong-willed daughter Mar a; and the machinations of the mad physician, Dr. Rivas, who created Matt. Once again, Farmer's near-future world offers an electric blend of horrors and beauty. Lyrically written and filled with well-rounded, sometimes thorny characters, this superb novel is well worth the wait. Ages 12 up.