The Cloud Hunters
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Many years after an unspecified cataclysm, the Earth has been shattered into a myriad of tiny planetoids floating in a vast ocean of air. Most people live on a single fragment of land for their whole lives, yet navigating them skies between them are the Cloud Hunters: nomads who collect water from the atmosphere and trade it with the land-bound. On one island, a schoolboy, Christien, dreams of escaping the confines of his comfortable home. Given the chance to spend a summer with a Cloud Hunter girl and her family as they search for her missing father, he begins to learn more about the world he inhabits and what leaving home might really mean.
With its well-drawn characters and vividly-realised world, The Cloud Hunters will appeal to fans of science fiction. Yet though at base an adventure story, the book is often pleasingly slow and meditative, dwelling on the texture of the world and exploring the issues of coming-of-age, belonging, memory and loss with an unexpected complexity and sensitivity.