cover image The Silver Scar

The Silver Scar

Betsy Dornbusch. Talos, $14.99 trade paper (398p) ISBN 978-1-940456-78-2

Dornbusch (the Seven Eyes series) packs a series’ worth of fanaticism and revenge into this intense novel set in a neo-medieval, postapocalyptic Colorado. Resource scarcity has plunged the 22nd century into religious tribalism. Young Trinidad survived his Wiccan parents’ suicide bombing and has grown into an honor-bound Christian archwarden in the adequately stable Boulder Parish. Zealous Bishop Marius arrives with a silver scar she claims an angel gave her, but Trinidad knows the scar came from a graveyard with powerful healing abilities that only he and his childhood friend Castile can reach through Wiccan dream magic. Castile, now an ecoterrorist, bribes the ancestor-worshipping, bellicose Indigos to kidnap Trinidad, assuming he has been helping the bishop. The reunited duo gingerly regain their youthful trust and dodge slavers to return and confront the bishop, but Trinidad’s refusal to openly oppose the church puts Castile in peril. As Wiccans, Indigos, and Christians marshal troops, Trinidad makes one desperate final attempt to forestall war. The confounding number of double agents among the secondary characters mars Dornbusch’s otherwise careful laying-out of the crowded political situation. A serious approach to faith and genuine grappling over personal history and responsibility add significant depth to the brisk action of this spellbinding saga. (Oct.)