Walking Through Fire
by Sherri Cook Woosley (Talos Press)
Rachel, a newly separated mother with her son—a ten-year-old, barely-recovered leukemia patient—are thrust into a new world when a series of insanely strong storms not only bring back ancient gods, but also wipe out most of humanity. Rachel is a typical suburban housewife and this all catches her while she is on her way to the hospital in Baltimore because her immunocompromised son is running a fever. It’s the story of a fiercely protective mother protecting her child while her old world burns around her, and as they fit into the new world, learning to let him go and let him grow into himself.
The strategy for survival Rachel chooses is interesting, and I will not give it away as that would be a spoiler. Her dealings with the new/old gods are absolutely fascinating and well thought out, and again, I will not share what they are as it would give too much away. I can say that some of the clashes between these gods are unexpected (but obvious, when you think about it), and the world she builds on the ashes of what we know is both strange and very, very compelling.
There’s a level of verisimilitude about so much of this. Any parent, especially a mother, will identify readily with Rachel’s dilemmas, weaknesses, and strengths. Woosley’s real-life child had leukemia and she draws us into the world of a parent of a gravely ill child as seamlessly as she draws us into a world of manipulative, powerful jealous gods—and magic.
It’s book one in the Misbegotten series so there will be more. I loved this novel. And you will, too.