Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed wiped out his parents and most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his loyal dog Rowdy for company.
He has stayed alive for two winters—hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that controls the north, led by a ruthless man named Ramage.
But Finn’s isolation is shattered when a girl runs onto the beach. Rose is a Siley—an asylum seeker—and she has escaped from Ramage, who had enslaved her and her younger sister, Kas. Rose is desperate, sick, and needs Finn’s help. Kas is still missing somewhere out in the bush.
And Ramage wants the girls back—at any cost.
The Road to Winter is an unforgettable novel about survival, honour, friendship and love. It announces an extraordinary new talent.
Mark Smith lives on Victoria’s Surf Coast where he writes and runs outdoor education programs for young adults. His writing has won a number of awards and has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Review of Australian Fiction and the Big Issue. The Road to Winter is his first book.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Mark Smith’s gripping and deeply felt debut novel tells the unforgettable story of a teenager’s survival in the harshest of conditions. Following a deadly viral outbreak, Finn lives alone with his dog and spends his time surfing. But when questionable newcomers are thrust into his life, Finn’s resilience and resourcefulness are brutally tested. Set against a coastal Australian backdrop, The Road to Winter weaves timely messages about climate change and asylum seekers into a suspenseful read.
Several years after a devastating virus caused the collapse of civilization, 15-year-old Finn survives on his own by living off the land and relying on the supplies his father stockpiled before his death. When Finn's solitary existence is upset by the arrival of Rose, a wounded young woman fleeing a ruthless gang of marauders and slavers, Finn has to decide how much he wants to get involved. Eventually, he agrees to venture out and find Rose's younger sister, Kas, who was separated from her in their escape attempt. As Finn encounters other survivors, both peaceful and dangerous, he discovers his true place in his altered world and learns what's worth fighting for. The setting and worldbuilding are fairly standard for this subset of the postapocalyptic genre, but complex and sympathetic characters help compensate for the more generic elements, and there's a measure of hope in Finn's story that isn't always present in similar tales. First in a planned series, it's a solid debut for Australian author Smith, and future installments may yet find ways to further establish its identity. Ages 12 up.