Arthur Slade, Author . Random/Lamb $15.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-385-73004-4

Set in drought-devastated Saskatchewan between the world wars, Slade's (Tribes) eerie novel opens as seven-year-old Matthew Steelgate gets into a truck driven by a stranger with hypnotic powers of persuasion, a stranger who says, several times, "I was never young." Readers can predict the boy's disappearance; Matthew's 11-year-old brother, Robert, seems to sense it even before he is officially told. The starkness of the Steelgates' loss and the unfathomable harshness of the drought tip into the surreal realm when the stranger reappears. He uses mass hypnosis on the small-town residents to get them to build a "rainmill"—and to somehow induce them to forget about Matthew and the two other children who disappear shortly afterward. Robert puts his pluck and intuition to work and uncovers the villain's bizarre, nefarious schemes, which expand the notion of "dust" well beyond the Dust Bowl (and toward the cosmic properties assigned it by Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy). Slade sustains the hallucinatory, off-kilter tone of a prolonged nightmare right through the heroic climax. Readers who like their science fiction on the dark, literary side will be hooked. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2003
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Children's
Mass Market Paperbound - 192 pages - 978-0-440-22976-6
Prebound-Other - 183 pages - 978-1-4176-2072-2
Paperback - 168 pages - 978-0-00-648593-3
Library Binding - 183 pages - 978-0-385-90093-5
Paperback - 172 pages - 978-1-4954-7005-9
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