A surprisingly good book.
As usual, the world as everybody knew it ended a couple of hundred years or so ago. A deadly gas appeared from somewhere and killed most of the population of earth. Now only a small city of survivors remains living underground, blocking the gas, known as ‘Variant’ from getting to them. But the machines on which they depend are wearing out. They have begun a radical experimental program to try to create children who are immune to or at least adapted to, the Variant gas.
The story is about Terry, one of the children who is best adapted to the Variant, and about his mother, who now regrets joining the program to expose her children to the gas.
It’s easy to get elected or appointed if you understand the way the ladder works, darlings, but staying in power is the tricky part. You need more than a title and a pretty face for that. But you can’t do it with fear or violence, because in the end you’ll only lose. You have to do it with love. Show them you’re a saint. Make them believe you care, and then prove you actually do. That’s how you win the long hand. That’s how you beat the other bastards down.”
J.N. Chaney. The Amber Project (Kindle Locations 2164-2167). J. N. Chaney.
Terry is sent to school, where he will live for the next several years. There he learns many things, supposedly about how to survive on the surface, and is repeatedly tested for his reactions to things. After some years, he and his fellow students are exposed directly to the Variant gas a number of times and their reactions monitored. Terry finds that he actually becomes stronger, faster, and the like under the influence of the gas, although at times the effect becomes too much and he passes out.
His mother Mara, on the other hand, after turning over the last of her children to the school, retires from the Motherhood, but is recruited to become the Matron of the Mothers. She finds herself at odds with the scientific and military establishment over the course the experiments with their children are taking.
Finally, a couple of the other students leave the city, and Terry and several of his other classmates are sent to try to find them before they are killed by the monsters that live on the surface or meet some other fatal mishap.
“They can police a city, easy, but not a countryside. No matter what you do, those people are never going to leave.”
“Then, why create us? Why waste their time all those years on making us?”
“Because they only want a few of us. We’re easier to control. You really think they’d mass produce people like you and me— people who can go anywhere and do anything? They’re not stupid. Better to have a few you can control than an army you can’t. They need us to do their dirty work. We’re the new soldiers, Terry.”
J.N. Chaney. The Amber Project (Kindle Locations 4851-4855). J. N. Chaney.
There is never a dull moment in this book, especially once the kids are sent to the surface.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Cover image from Goodreads.
Title: The Amber Project
Variant Saga #1
Author: J. N. Chaney
Publisher: Variant Publications
Format: Kindle edition
Genre: Science Fiction/ Post Apocalyptic