cover image The Passion of Ivan Rodriguez

The Passion of Ivan Rodriguez

Hayden Trenholm. Tyche, $19.99 trade paper (366p) ISBN 978-1-989407-53-0

Trenholm (Stealing Home) balances heart-pummeling action with enough self-discovery to fill a Paulo Coelho novel in this heroic tale set in postapocalyptic North America. In 2366, mathematical genius Ivan Rodriguez is on the run after a failed coup against the feudal leader of Nova California. His wife is dead, and his two children have been drafted into a Nova labor brigade. Devastated, he travels across an arid wasteland for Denver, a free city-state, where he hopes to “earn enough to buy his children back.” Meanwhile, in Yellowknife, Sarah Nahanni, a physicist and member of the democratic Tli’cho Nation, struggles to unravel the mystery of her father’s death and reunite with her brother, Henry, who has become romantically involved with war profiteer Rhianna Jones, captain of the rogue airship Oberon. Eventually all three cross paths with Ivan, whose brilliant mind might be the key to saving the dying planet. Trenholm carefully tests his characters’ moral backbone, creating distinct arcs and plenty of development all around, though some waypoints of love, loss, and reunion pass too quickly. The complex plot, while at times hard to follow, beautifully frames the central question: “If the world is doomed, what can a man do to live a good life?” This is speculative fiction with soul. (Aug.)