This is an exciting story set in a futuristic world of snow and ice where the heroine, Raina Bowen, has had to learn to be self-sufficient and to trust no-one and to form no close friendships. She drives a rig transporting grain across the vast icy Northern Waste but, like other independent rig drivers, is at risk from the Pirates as well as the organised trucking gang, the Jansons. Just before her father, Sam, died he arranged for her to receive a special trucking pass for the main highway which could mean she might win a prize to be the first rig to get there - however she needs to collect the pass from someone called Wizard.
When waiting for Wizard at a rest stop she finds herself coming to the aid of another lone rig driver who has fallen foul of the Jansons. Once she has rescued him she discovers that he is Wizard and that the pass he has for her is worthless. They have larger problems, though, when Wizard's rig is destroyed and he has to travel with Raina. When Raina realises her cargo isn't grain but weapons her plans change again and she decides to give the weapons to the rebels who are trying to dissolve the stranglehold that the evil Duncan Bane holds. Bane is a real enemy to Raina and when she discovers that the enigmatic Wizard also hates Bane she finds herself amongst a group of people about whom she begins to care. However as she becomes more part of their group she discovers that there is a big secret they are withholding from her and that she may be part of a complex plot to destroy Bane - which might involve significant danger for her.
Wizard was a very interesting character in this story. Raised by a computer, his speech and behaviour seems cold and unfriendly but his interactions with Raina begin to teach him to feel and to understand more human emotions. Raina is a feisty, strong and independent woman and a great heroine for the story. Wizard can answer some questions about Raina's own youth and why she's been so successful in the difficult world in which they live.
The denouement with Bane was perhaps over rather quickly and rather simply but that wasn't the main point of the story, which was Raina and Wizard both learning to rely on and accept other people. The setting of the icy Northern Wastes was well described with the cold, snow and darkness all adding to the atmosphere of the story. The plotline never dragged, the characterisation was well drawn and the concept of this story was original; this is a book that will be very much enjoyed by many people.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book,© Helen Hancox 2007