By: Gabriel Goodman
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 2012
Shep Greenfield was riding Old Gray and his co-rider’s mount was Mariah. Cara was just a kid, but Shep was almost a man at fourteen. When they rode into small compounds they brought hope and penicillin. They were outfitted in plague gear and no one could see that he was a mere boy, a boy on a mission. Shep knew he was no more than a “glorified delivery boy,” but when he was in disguise he felt that power. Before the Fall he had a home and parents like ‘most everyone else, but now he lived at River’s Edge, a small hospital run by Doctor St. John. There wasn’t any nightpox there, but it was in Wisconsin and he was a harbinger of better things to come, or so he thought.
“You give me a month of medicine. I give you two months of food. Hardly seems fair.” Mrs. Adams was the unofficial head of Muddy waters, another small town untouched by the plague ... yet. They wanted to be prepared and begrudgingly made the swap. Shep was shocked when he noticed a picture of his parents on the wall. Where had it come from? She explained that it was from a place called Dusty Hollow. Nah, no way his parents could be alive, but there was that chance. “Dusty Hollow is being burned to the ground. Everyone there is going to die.” Just maybe his parents were still living, but how could he make it to the town to see for himself?
Doctor St. John had no time for fools and flat out refused Shep’s request to travel to Dusty Hollow. Vargas, his second-in-command echoed the thought. Food would be wasted and he would not be allowed to return. Once exposed to nightpox it would be the end. Shep had to weigh his odds and they weren’t good. Cara had stolen Doc’s copy of Gene Matterson’s Wilderness Survival Guidebook and knew how long they could survive before they needed help. Once they struck out on the trail to Dusty Hollow there would be no return. Could the two young plague riders make it to the town or would they be facing their own destruction?
This is a fast-paced scenario of two young plague riders in search of the truth. Reluctant readers, the target audience for this tale, will be enticed by this short, action-packed read. The scenario for this series, “After the Dust Settled” is one in which the world as we know it has ended and only the young survive ... if they can. The tale is packed with tension as Shep and Cara defy the evil taskmaster, Doctor St. John. Of course they know nothing of his true evil nature. There is more evil in the world than nightpox, but Shep is eventually determined to risk his life to eliminate it and find out the truth for himself. If you have reluctant or newly independent readers who want short, but exciting novels, this is one series you may wish to add to your library or classroom shelves.
Quill says: The "After the Dust Settled" series is perfect for the young, reluctant reader who wants an exciting read, but not a lengthy one!