Scavenger: Evolution by Timothy C Ward

Source: Copy from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Overall Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

In the future, sand divers search the depths for the lost city of Danvar and the truth behind their bleak existence. Divemaster Rush hasn’t dove since he lost his infant. A job offer turns from an escape to a trap and the lure of a hardened heart to survive like anyone else would. One dive leads to another. Farther and farther from the surface, death and evolution change his world. He’ll have to change too or watch his wife rise without him.

Inspired by Hugh Howey’s world of Sand. Written and sold with his permission. Scavenger: Evolution takes the landscape of Dune and throws in the pacing and thrills of Alien.

This story constitutes my introduction into the world of Sand. I think Hugh Howey’s books just got bumped up my lengthy TBR list.

Rush used to be a diver, but after losing his infant son to the sand, he aborted from life, in the process estranging his wife, Star. We meet him as a down-and-outer working in a bar.  He is accosted by Warren, someone who wants a job done by a diver, by Rush specifically, and is offering money. Even in Rush’s depressed state, he realises he must choose between losing his humanity and gaining it.

The plot of this tale is relatively simple, but Ward adds several layers that increase the obstacles for Rush. Add the sand on top of those, and one gets a gripping tale of suspense. I loved the sand-diving sequences. Ward used words sparsely to image them, but at the same time gave one a clear idea of how the divers dive. And the complexities involved. Add to those a distracted diver dealing with some pretty big emotional issues?

In short, Ward’s writing is excellent. Perhaps a small portion of this comes from the fact that the world is already built, but it also comes from the fact that there was very little active worldbuilding within this story, as such. Everything is assumed, with little explanation given. I really liked that. The point wasn’t belaboured, and nothing – even Ward’s writing style, which is clear, precise and vivid – got in the way of the story. Much was left unsaid, leaving several questions still running around my head. Questions that beg for answers. I’ll be looking forward to Ward’s next book in this world!

It’s totally possible to read this story without having touched Hugh Howey’s books – but be careful. You’ll want to read those quite soon after picking this one up!


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