Human society is turned upside down by a deadly man-made virus that attacks pregnant women. How can the human race survive? That's the setting for this heart-breaking first-person narrative told by 16-year-old Jessie Lamb as she makes a decision which cuts her off from her parents, boyfriend and best friend. Troubling ethical issues are given flesh and blood to make a riveting page turner.
We used to take a picnic up on the moors, above Dovestones, we called it Kingfisher Valley. The ferns were taller than me and we used to play hide and seek for hours, till the air was full of the green smell of crushed fern. Dad saw a kingfisher, he said it was electric, the bluest bird in all the land, better than a peacock. We used to sit very still and watch for it. We were happy then, the three of us. Now it was the two of them against me. The way they lived was horrible.
Later on, Dad came back and knocked again. He had a toasted teacake for me. I let him in and he sat on the edge of the bed. 'I heard some good news today,' he told me.
'Right. About trashing the planet.'
'No actually. About surviving MDS.'
'It wouldn't even have spread if it wasn't for people like you.'
'What d'you mean?'
'The virus was released at airports. If everybody stopped flying -'
'It would be shutting the stable door. What do you want, a return to the dark ages?'