English high school student John Smith, unremarkable to the outside world except for the striking blue eyes from which he gets his nickname, has always known that he did not want the life that his “nutter” hippy parents laid out for him; but his desire to reach for a different future never prepared him for the moment when the future would reach for him. A search for his lost sister brings “Blue” in contact with the “Rip”, an opening in time-and-space that pulls him into an age in which London is a flooded-out wasteland, ordinary kids live as soldiers in a military installation, and the familiar, 21st century world has been turned on its head. Ignoring his Commander’s instance that this ruined future is now his home, Blue lives among his fellow “cadets” with an agenda of his own: to find a way back into the “past” and rescue his family, who themselves might be something more than what he once believed.
Blue Into the Rip, the first novel in Kev Heritage’s Into the Rip series, is a painful book to summarize; painful because I hate to steal the joy of discovery from other potential readers. Heritage prefers to throw his readers in with the alligators and see whether or not we swim. He tosses us into the future, pulls us into the past, and then throws us back again, points us down unfamiliar roads with nothing but a compass, and drops us in the middle of events without a map—and the process is enthralling. He reveals the world that he’s imagined slowly, in a way that excites a desire to meet the text’s challenge in order to get our questions answered.
This apparently straight-forward time-travel tale surprises you with a presentation of a future undone that is as powerful as it is passionless: visions of the drowned and decayed city of London, presented in an almost clinical narrative style, churned the heart of this Anglophile reader as effectively as if they had been rendered in florid prose. Heritage seems to understand that you don’t need to go “over the top” in order to make contact with the human heart.
Blue into the Rip goes wide on December 7th, 2013. I look forward to being there with Blue through each new release date as his fight through time unfolds, and I certainly hope that many of you will join me.
With that in mind, I have a question for the Underground Treehouse community: who’s ready to follow Blue into the Rip?