Published by Text Publishing on June 27th 2016
Twenty years ago, John Marsden’s Tomorrow series captivated a generation of readers.
Now, Mark Smith’s The Road to Winter tells a thrilling, primal, twenty-first century story of courage and survival in the Australian wilderness.
Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed wiped out his parents and most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his loyal dog Rowdy for company.
He has stayed alive for two winters—hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that controls the north, led by a ruthless man named Ramage.
But Finn’s isolation is shattered when a girl runs onto the beach. Rose is a Siley—an asylum seeker—and she has escaped from Ramage, who had enslaved her and her younger sister, Kas. Rose is desperate, sick, and needs Finn’s help. Kas is still missing somewhere out in the bush.
And Ramage wants the girls back—at any cost.
The Road to Winter is an unforgettable novel about survival, honour, friendship and love. It announces an extraordinary new talent.
Okay, so… WOW! I was completely enthralled by Smith’s THE ROAD TO WINTER almost from the first page. The gritty feel of the world he created is palpable. Recently, I have been super into Australian YA, and if you haven’t yet been introduced, now is the time – start with this one. Finn is a likeable hero, and is doing the best he can to survive an absolutely horrendous life. It’s so realistic in some of the descriptions, you feel like you’re there, and that’s not always the most comfortable. However, it is so successful in conveying Finn’s reality. Smith creates the scariest kind of villain here – a human, a regular man made by circumstance, and the narrative is too engaging to put down.
Finn’s journey starts off very solitary, but the more the story progresses the more I was drawn into not only Finn’s relationship with his constant K-9 companion, but both allies, and enemies alike. I don’t want to say too much, except I can’t wait for this story’s continuation. It’s a wild, and at times upsetting ride, but I am here for it.
A highly recommended 4 out of 5 from me!
Thank you to the publisher for making The Road to Winter available to me on Netgalley