cover image The Boy on the Bridge

The Boy on the Bridge

M.R. Carey. Orbit, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-30033-9

Plausible science and solid prose and characterization elevate this dystopian thriller above similar works. In the same alternate future as Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts, a fungus, Cordyceps, which began as an insect parasite, has infected people, repurposing their brains and turning them into “hungries,” mindless creatures with an appetite for human flesh. Carey moves quickly to engage readers’ sympathies for epidemiologist Samrina Khan, one of a group of scientists and soldiers on a research mission. They travel through the U.K. in a motor home, on a desperate quest for an inhibitor that could make people resistant to the fungus. In the midst of the devastating horror the world has become, Samrina learns that she is pregnant, news she considers “a high tide of wonder and dismay and disbelief and misery in which hope bobs like a lifeboat cut adrift.” This development radically complicates things for her, and her colleagues, as the plot builds to a satisfying conclusion. (May)