Author: Hugh Howey
ISBN-13: : 978-1328767547
Publisher: Mariner Books
The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this land of howling wind and infernal sand, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost. Their father was a sand diver, one of the elite few who could travel deep beneath the desert floor and bring up the relics and scraps that keep their people alive. But their father is gone. And the world he left behind might be next.
“It was strange how tense one could become while surrounded by the banal. It was the waiting, waiting.” (p. 78)
Hugh Howey shot to the top of my favorite authors’ list with his Wool trilogy. His dystopian world-building is solid, as are his characters and their relationships to each other, and their harsh living conditions.
In Sand, Colorado has been covered by … sand. Familiar city names have become bastardized versions of themselves. The biggest lost city was once Denver but is now Danver. Danver is El Dorado. Everyone’s heard the myth that lost treasure can be found in Danver; enough wealth to make life worthwhile, if not pleasant. Pirates and sand divers from all over have searched for Danver to no avail. Until one day …
The main protagonist, Palmer, is a highly skilled sand diver. Able to go deeper than most others, his talents are well known. He and a friend are hired by a group of brigands to dive and bring back proof that this location is the mythical Danver.
It is indeed. And then everything goes wrong. Because, the brigands don’t want the buried treasure, they want something more valuable and dangerous. Power.
And thus we have another dystopian political thriller. A good one, albeit a little light on the details of how Colorado became the sand covered danger that it has become.
Sand’s main protagonist is brother to three siblings, abandoned by their father who left for another not-so-mythical destination, No Man’s Land. It’s supposed to be a better place where the rebels are gathering to join forces and devise a way to take Colorado back from the greedy forces in power.
And while that’s a common theme in political thrillers, Howey manages to give it a twist, and make it much more interesting. I like his world-building a lot, and the quirks he gives his characters are really entertaining.
Sand is about more than survival, though. It’s about community, family, and trust. It’s about figuring out who we are and what matters. And that’s what resonated for me.