Scavenger: Evolution (Sand Divers #1) by Timothy C. Ward
The book blurb;
‘In this future, sand divers search the depths for the lost city of Danvar and the truth behind their bleak existence. Divemaster Rush hasn’t dove since he lost his infant. A job offer turns from an escape to a trap and the lure of a hardened heart to survive like anyone else would. One dive leads to another. Farther and farther from the surface, death and evolution change his world. He’ll have to change too or watch his wife rise without him.’
Scavenger: Evolution tells the story of Rush Stenson, a former sand diver who is now living in a brothel and cleaning up for the detritus of society. Rush finds himself with a job offer from a mysterious stranger which turns out to be bogus. Rush is then in the fight of his life, he reunites with his wife who he left two years prior following the death of their son. They must get to Danvar and the truth, and hope that the Gov doesn’t get them first.
At first, Scavenger: Evolution can be a tad intimidating, especially if you haven’t read any of Hugh Howey’s work or visited his world of Sand prior to reading this. There is a lot of tech and I did have some trouble getting my head around it all. Eventually, I did manage to find my rhythm with this book and I absolutely loved it. The tech is soooo cool! There are AI suits that can literally shape the word around them, they can turn sand into liquid so that a sand diver can swim through it. The suits are really given centre stage once the action starts and they provide an element to it that I haven’t read before, I just wish I had one…
Rush is a character that is conflicted in his world, a former sand diver whose son was buried beneath it, he left his wife and is living in a brothel where he cleans the floor and takes out the waste. After a job offer goes wrong, he finds himself reunited with his old friend Avery and then with his wife, Star. Rush is consistent throughout and always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, his intentions are always good and I liked his character. His wife, however; I wanted to bury under the sand myself! It is fair to say that she has a lot of emotional baggage and she was abandoned by Rush after their son died so her actions are understandable, but they’re just blood infuriating. I was secretly hoping that Rush would ditch and leave her in the sand.
What I liked most about this story was the threat; it was real, and stark, you can be killed out on the sand, and by the tech, I loved that. The world of Sand is an unforgiving place and like any dessert, will take from you without giving back and the author really captures that. The action scenes are very well detailed and as a reader you can imagine exactly what’s happening. I also liked how the fight was not purely human v human, it was human v environment and human v technology. There’s definitely a message in this story…
I really enjoyed this book and would not hesitate to pick up another of Mr Ward’s books, the story flows really well and the action is first-class. The world is one that is familiar yet mysterious and I love the ‘Lost America’ theme to it. The downside would be that you have to familiarise yourself with the tech, however I feel that seasoned sci-fi readers will have no problem with this. It definitely is worth learning about this world of Sand (if you haven’t already).
A sure 4/5, I really enjoyed this book.
Finding Scavenger: Evolution