In post-apocalyptic America, Selah Chavez is crouched in long grass on a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city. It is the day before her eighteenth Born Remembrance, and she is hunting, though many people refuse to eat animal flesh, tainted by radiation during the Time of Sorrows. What Selah's really after are Landers, mysterious people from a land across the big water who survive the delirium-inducing passage in small boats that occasionally crash against the shoreline. She knows she should leave the capture to the men, but Landers bring a good price from the Company and are especially prized if they keep the markings they arrive with.
Everything falls to pieces when the Lander Selah catches is stolen by her brothers--and Selah wakes up the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has suddenly appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bohdi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell.
With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of scientific advances, political intrigue, and wilderness survival, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a world more like our own than we may want to admit.
Calhoun's first YA novel is set in post-apocalyptic America, where Selah Chavez goes against her family's wishes and hunts for Landers, a people with distinctive markings who are captured and sold to a business known as the Company for reasons unknown. Those who live in the Mountain, the underground colony where the Company is located, have been protected from the devastation of the outside world. When Selah captures, then loses, a Lander named Bodhi Locke, she becomes one of the hunted when the same markings appear on her body. Calhoun (Cooking the Books) paints a dark, serious world and does not shy away from the violence that her characters suffer as they struggle with prejudice and even genocide, the latter activity veiled by justifications of scientific knowledge and progress. At times, the story suffers from clich d writing or overdramatized incidents, but despite its shortcomings, Calhoun's novel, which inaugurates the Stone Braide Chronicles, is on balance an entertaining and suspenseful read that will please those who enjoy intrigue and grimness. Ages 12 up.