Raiders' Ransom


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Grade 6–8—In the early 23rd century, much of what used to be eastern England is underwater or marshy, Greater Scotland extends down below London, and England consists of the 10 southernmost counties. Lilly is a fishergirl in a small English village, but when the marsh-dwelling raiders kidnap the Prime Minister's small daughter from Lilly's village, the 13-year-old sails off to get her back, along with her mysterious seacat. Zeph is the tough but conflicted son of the raider chieftain whose tribe stole Lexy. Their entwined fates are complicated by Lilly's theft of an ancient "jewel" that turns out to be a gaming computer from the late 21st century and by the bloody war that breaks out between the raiders and England. Readers will be fascinated by the results of environmental calamity upon civilization—Londoners who managed to escape the Collapse of their city have formed into primitive, Viking-like raiders, folks in southern England have reverted to an 18th-century lifestyle, and Greater Scotland still has access to advanced technology—not that they're sharing it with anyone else. The plot, although leisurely and sometimes straining credulity, is suspenseful, and both Lilly and Zeph are complex and interesting characters. Unanswered questions point to a sequel. This is an intriguing postapocalyptic adventure with a dash of Dark Ages spice.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

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