cover image From the Caves

From the Caves

Thea Prieto. Red Hen, $14.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-63628-002-8

In Prieto’s trenchant debut, the survivors of an apocalypse navigate a scorched land full of desolation and desperation. Among the enigmatic cast is Mark, a bossy young man; Tie, a compassionate pregnant woman; Teller, a wise old man with a limp; and Sky, an impressionable eight-year-old mourning the death of Green, formerly his mentor and quasi-leader of the group. Mark gladly takes on the role as leader, with Tie in the final stages of pregnancy and Teller’s limp worsening as an infection spreads through his leg. With summer fast approaching, they head for shelter in a group of seaside caves. After they reach the caves, tensions rise as Sky begins to distrust Mark’s motives after he insists on helping to deliver Tie’s baby. Meanwhile, Teller suffers a high fever, but remains hopeful that others will come to their rescue. Along the way, Prieto describes the unforgiving elements of nature with beautiful prose: “the suck of low tide holds pockets of noise—a hissing wind, the boom of brown ocean waves.” This is a gut punch of a dystopian novel. (Aug.)