“Zoe and Zachary Blackstone are twins, born into a world of madness and survival. Having lost their mother, they are dependent on their grandmother to guide them and a misfit group of wishful dreamers, as they journey hundreds of miles, in hope of finding a cure for the Night Madness. That mysterious affliction takes all men older than puberty. Motherhood is the only known surefire cure. Zachary is doomed to share this fate, but for a rumor, a possible cure. His twin sister Zoe is determined to help him discover this one hope of relief, so they can possibly return to a normal life, a thing of which they've only read about in books.”
“T.A. Gaylord writes for both young adults and the young at heart, transporting them into a dystopian future world without technology, where the world of today has blown away, like dust from the high desert. Growing up in northern California, T. A. Gaylord has hiked miles of that terrain, and knows it's possibilities and it's dangers. It's beauty and amazing variability has always been an inspiration. As both a nature photographer and later as a caregiver for the disabled, T. A. Gaylord is familiar with both nature's beauty and nature's injustice, including it's unexpected and miraculous possibilities.”
One of the negatives of the male-dominated HTA (high technology age) that came several generations prior to this story was the disease (for lack of a better word to describe it) that the people in this story call “Night Madness.” This afflicts only males and females who have hit puberty and aren’t either pregnant or breast-feeding. The focus of this story is obviously on the Blackstone twins, Zoe and Zachary. They live in what they call a coven, a group of people who live in a large building in Oakland, California. At night the men and woman who suffer from the night madness are locked out of the building. The Coven was started by one of the female ancestors of the Blackstone twins. It’s an interesting story world and becomes even more so as the story progresses.
The bulk of the story is because there is a rumor that someone in the past found a cure for the night madness and that this research can be obtained at a place they call White Mountain. Zoe doesn’t want her brother to be afflicted with the night madness and convinces the powers that be to allow a group of those in the coven to travel to White Mountain in search of this cure. Of course this trip of a few hundred miles each way isn’t as simple as it would have been in the HTA. They have no cars, so they need to walk, carrying those supplies they need for food. They need to plan for whatever problems they might encounter along the way including other people who might not be as friendly as them. It makes for quite an adventure. I found myself checking out a map when they would mention specific towns between Oakland and the Sierra Mountains to the east, trying to remember if I’d been to that area and, if so, what it looked like. It was an adventure for the twins and one I enjoyed taking with them.
A small number of proofing misses.
Rating: **** Four Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words