The fortunes of Marie and Alex go from bad to worse as their captors force them into a temporal rift, where they find themselves trapped along with their would-be rescuers, the Holorans Antac and Selkert. Not knowing just how far in to the future they’ve been flung the alien companions set about charting the jump through the movement of the stars, the result of which brings the realisation just how far they are separated from the other survivors. They have the Holorans’ aircraft, so set off to see just who and what has changed on the planet in the intervening years, although the first thing they spy is the floating island that their previous captors call home, seemingly also pulled through the time distortion. Their friend Djamila remains a captive, so they decide to launch a reckless rescue mission, which proves both bloody and brutal, not to mention shocking when they discover another old friend. Escaping with Djamila they find refuge on an island, but it’s a place that will bring them to breaking point, with unexpected delights and a crushing low.
Leo once again proves unafraid to challenge our expectations and take risks with the connections we’ve made with the characters. The planet, its ecology and its dangerous mix of inhabitants keep the storytelling volatile and unpredictable, but at no point does it lose or alienate the reader. There’s also a wonderful nod back to Leo’s original series that comes at just the right moment.
I wouldn’t advocate that this be the place to start if you’ve not seen the Survivors before, but rest assured that should you get this far it will have been well worth investing the time to do so.
And if you liked that: You can look forward to the fifth chapter in this arc coming soon