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Armed with a crossbow, Mike Wade roams the dystopian USA deserts in search of his captive daughter Kara.
Bad things tend to happen in threes: because of global warming, the West is now completely on fire. The temperature has gone up everywhere by an average of 10 degrees F. They've lost control of the massive wildfires, which have scorched California, Nevada, Colorado, and the Southwest; the fires themselves are creeping eastward at seven miles per hour.
In the chaos, an authoritarian strongman has taken over the USA, promising to make short work of both the fires and the lawlessness. Finally, there are rumors that invaders from overseas have landed in California.
The problem for Michael Wade and his family is that his daughter Kara had been taking a year of college abroad in Mexico to specialize in Spanish. She hasn't been able to make it home, and Wade has set off from Vermont by train and on foot, with his backpack and essentials, including a crossbow, to rescue her.
Along the way he joins other refugees on his treacherous journey to the Southwest, including Phoebe Tate, a funky young lady who made jewelry in the desert, Wiley James, a trucker from Wyoming who was forced to abandon his rig, and Jonesy, a riverboat captain who takes them down the Colorado River.
Society has broken down; there is no broadcast news from the West anymore, just quasi El Presidente's propaganda and creepily soothing explanations for everything. Only the trains run here and there; oil production and imports have slowed to a trickle. Most people don't have fuel and the train system has been left intact to provide the regime with its necessities.
Wade only knows that his last communication from Kara came from Sierra Vista in southern Arizona. He'll have to get there by whichever way he can, by river and desert.
Wow, what a great book…Not only does the plot move right along, the cast of characters just kept getting better and the descriptions more vivid as the book progressed. I've lived in the desert southwest and the northwest, both places devastated by climate change in this series. The authors' description of abandoned towns and the ravages of grid collapse are so real you feel like you're traveling along with the characters…Enthralling Dystopian Survival Series…–Amazon Reviewer on both Parts of the series
~Kirkus Reviews on Journey By Fire, the entire book, May 2017~
As wildfires spawned by climate change cause America to collapse into savagery, a New Englander undertakes a perilous mission out West to find his daughter…Wade journeys by train from the increasingly violent Chicago toward the scorching frontier in a twisting, turning quest through deserts and slot canyons for Kara.
Perry's (Devastated Lands, 2017, etc.) tautly told tale turns out to be a vibrant addition to the genre… The tone deftly overlaps both the grown-up demographic and YA readership
This effective odyssey through a burned, blighted future America…should slake the thirst of worst-case-scenario addicts.