Publisher: Hot Key Books

Boonie's world is a post-apocalyptic one, in which children are bred to work in labour camps, cities are controlled by military force, resources are scarce, and water is the most precious commodity of all. One boy, JD, lives far from civilisation, out in the Dry Marsh. Yet when the Silver Men kill his father and burn down his shack, JD heads for the City to find out why they have come for him and what has happened to his mother. Along the way he encounters an old man who teaches him how to find water in the desert, a hot-headed girl named Aqua, and a cast of cruel and grotesque villains.

This is a bleak story which deals with a number of important issues. Ecological collapse, the nature of power, and the questions of the responsibility that we hold towards each other and our environment are all part of the novel's fabric, but it never feels as if one is being guided towards an easy or heavy-handed moral message. Instead, Boonie's breathless narrative and convincing leads present the reader with a rich and well-realised world in which these issues can be explored with sensitivity and subtlety.

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