Metal-eating ‘bugs’ or not, Kimble is staying in the Territory when his dad is flighted out on medical emergency. No way is Kimble going to join that abusive old man outside in the technology-based city, far from the New Mexico desert he loves.
His expertise with flint-tipped arrows and knowledge of desert life will help him survive and avoid the bugs. Now, staying away from the authorities who’ll make the teen live with his dad – that might be harder. At least Kimble can hear the eerie whine made by the solar-powered, self-replicating metal-eating bugs before they see him, can hear or perhaps sense their presence better than anyone else. Why the bugs descended on the US Southwest 50 years ago, no one knows; folks are just glad that they never ventured beyond its desert boundaries on their metal-consuming quest.
Fleeing the authorities, Kimble meets up with martial arts specialist Ruth Monroe, an immigrant from outside who’s ready for the desert’s challenges and the bugs’ dangers. Together, they travel away from Santa Fe to set up a dojo where Ruth can practice her skills and teach others. Ever a loner, Kimble must learn to follow Ruth’s instruction, get along with others studying at the dojo, even go to the village school to finish his studies.
When the authorities, some outlaws, and the bugs begin to close in on their tiny village, Kimble and Ruth are on high alert. Why are these conflicting forces all homing in on them right now? What made Ruth leave behind the benefits of modern technology for this rough desert life anyway? And what are the bugs, those relentless metal-devouring bugs, and where did they come from?
In a fascinating frontier land with an implacable new enemy, Kimble will have to fight to grow up and fight even harder to stay there. Great science fiction with a novel twist.
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA