cover image After the Flood

After the Flood

Kassandra Montag. Morrow, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-288936-2

Montag’s first novel, an intriguing and innovative woman-centered swashbuckling quest narrative, centers on the social impact of climate change a little over a century from now. At the heart of the story is a mother’s effort to protect her eight-year-old daughter and rescue her 12-year-old daughter from possible internment aboard a “breeding ship,” where “raider” crews force captive women to become pregnant. Myra inhabits a water-inundated world in which people live on boats or in mountaintop community enclaves. After Myra’s husband, Jacob, kidnaps her elder daughter, Rowena (called Row), she and her younger daughter, Pearl, live on a boat called Bird; they survive alone by trading fish until Myra saves the life of a navigator named Daniel. When Bird sinks, the three join a larger community aboard Sedna, where Myra, obsessed with rescuing Row, stops at nothing to convince the charismatic captain to perilously sail north to where she believes Row is located. Readers who enjoy postapocalyptic fiction and strong female heroes will appreciate Myra, a super-survivalist who combines Wonder Woman’s physical prowess and the unsinkable Molly Brown’s resilience. The endless series of crises facing Myra becomes wearying after a while, and those hoping for an optimistic conclusion will be disappointed. Nonetheless, this is a promising debut that will generally please fans of climate apocalypse stories. Agent: Victoria Sanders, Victoria Sanders & Assoc. (Sept.)