What is the Cost of Loyalty?
Caught in the crossfire between warring factions, life in the futuristic Drowned Cities along America’s east coast has been reduced to basic survival. Young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have learned that survival often depends on who you rely on and who you call your ally. And ever since Mouse rescued Mahlia from the violent grip of the Army of God, the two have been inseparable and reliant on each other.
Then one day while out scrounging for food, an unexpected encounter with a wounded half-man called Tool sets Mahlia and Mouse on a course that neither one of them could have imagined. As Mahlia weighs the risks of using her medical knowledge to care for the wounded Tool, things begin to spiral out of control. As the story unfolds, Mouse and Mahlia find their loyalties tested as they become separated and are forced to make difficult decisions. But the most difficult decision of all comes as this unlikely trio must decide what they are willing to sacrifice for each other.
In this, his companion book to Ship Breaker, Bacigalupi tells a dark, yet gripping story of the effects of war. His commentary about the horrors and senselessness of war resound loud and clear, well after the final page is turned.
This installment of the Ship Breaker series can easily stand alone. Tool is the only character that makes an appearance in both novels and the two stories take place in completely different regions of a futuristic United States. However, to get a complete picture of the setting and Tool’s overall nature, I recommend reading Ship Breaker prior to delving into Bacigalupi’s latest work.