cover image The Electric Kingdom

The Electric Kingdom

David Arnold. Viking, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-20222-7

With a haunting, deliberately paced tale of postapocalyptic survival, Arnold (Mosquitoland) creates a devastated world held together by myth and memory. Years after most of humankind is wiped out by swarms of Flu-flies—genetically modified honeybees that devour humans and leave behind a deadly Fly Flu—the remaining survivors eke out a tentative existence in the Northeast U.S. Nico, 18, is sent by her science-minded father in search of a portal that could grant her a better life. Twelve-year-old Kit, raised in an abandoned movie theater, sets forth to locate a supposed safe zone situated on a cluster of islands. And the enigmatic Deliverer, who has spent dozens of lives attempting to influence events, watches over them both while pursuing a mysterious agenda. As their paths converge, the disparate protagonists discover secret connections that bind them. The slow-burning story unfolds opaquely—Arnold suggests, rather than explains, certain details about the world, focusing instead on how his intertwining characters, clearly wrought and informed by story and speculation, face a changing landscape. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Dan Lazar, Writers House. (Feb.) [/em]