cover image Across the Sand

Across the Sand

Hugh Howey. Harper Voyager, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-358-67045-2

Howey’s standalone sequel to 2014’s Sand delves deeper into a world where the remnants of modern civilization lie buried beneath hundreds of meters of sand. In the mining city of Agyl, resourceful Anya discovers the dark secret behind her father’s business trips when an atomic bomb destroys her town. Meanwhile, across No Man’s Land, four siblings rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a tragedy: Conner longs to take the family West, away from the depressing routines of survival, while Palmer’s desperation to live up to their missing sister Vic’s accomplishments as a sand-diver—specially trained people whose suits allow them to travel beneath the sand to salvage buried technology—places the youngest, Violet, in danger. Though the sand-divers face constant pressure to recover ever greater spoils, this is a world where very little is known about the past. The only character who expresses any curiosity is Rob, whose fascination with old-world tech leads him to create an amazing new tool for controlling the sand. Well-paced writing and myriad intertwined narratives build momentum as Anya’s and her father’s quest for vengeance places them in conflict with the sand-divers. Marrying a propulsive plot with fascinating worldbuilding, this postapocalyptic epic proves well worth the wait. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary. (Oct.)