Idlewild . The narrator of that story, Halloween, is now a minor character; there's a n"/>


Nick Sagan, Author . Putnam $19.95 (311p) ISBN 978-0-399-15186-6

Sagan revisits the future world of his well-received debut, 2003's Idlewild . The narrator of that story, Halloween, is now a minor character; there's a new generation trying to survive after the "Microbial Apocalypse," when the Black Ep virus wiped out all but a handful of humans. Sagan focuses primarily on the younger set, upon whose shoulders the hope of a future rests, telling the story through numerous first-person narrators. An early chapter from the POV of Malachi, the "right-hand machine" of Halloween's contemporary Pandora, succinctly explains the setup and lists the players (readers may find themselves frequently returning to it). What's left of the population is divided into two rival colonies. In the north live a group of young "posthumans," biochemically engineered girls who are immune to Black Ep, and their guardians. The liveliest and fiercest of these adolescents is 15-year-old Penny. In the south, there's a religious colony of people drugged to the gills against the virus, one of whom is the philosophical naïf Haji, whose poetic narration makes a nice counterpoint to that of the increasingly angry Penny. Penny, Haji and Pandora provide distinct voices, but other narrators muddy the waters. A killing and the threat of a new plague bubble under the plot's surface but never take center-stage urgency. Sagan's sharp observations and rich imagination entertain, though, and lay a strong groundwork for volume three. Agent, Richard Pine. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/13/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
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