Friday, November 12, 2010
Salt by Maurice Gee
Hari lives in Blood Burrow, the decaying remains of a city that lies in ruins. The inhabitants of Blood Burrow must fend for themselves against packs of starving dogs, rats, and the "Company Whips" who come in search of forced labour. Hari's father Tarl is captured by the Company Whips, but his resistance earns him a place in Deep Salt, a terrible mine from which no one has ever returned. Hari has no choice but to try to save his father. Along the way he meets Pearl, a privileged girl from the city where Company operates. The fact that she is fleeing her former life as well as an arranged marriage, doesn't endear her to Hari. But, he needs her help, and the help of her extraordinary maid, Tealeaf to save his father from Deep Salt. And, the three share the same unusual ability to communicate telepathically.
The fact that Gee's pacing is impeccable, that his descriptions are easy to visualize, and that his characters are compelling, makes this a story worth reading. Still, Salt offers much more. The world Gee has built is one you'll want to know more of because it shares so much with our own. It is a place where greed prospers alongside unselfish sacrifice. It's a world with potential for greatness, and equal potential for senseless violence. It is a world that teeters on the brink, and you'll want to know how it fares in the future. And guess what! The second installment of this planned trilogy is available, so I'm off to buy book two, Cool.