on 24 January 2013
"The Crossing" heralds the arrival of New Zealand writer and educator Mandy Hager as a compelling storyteller and fine prose stylist, with a novel that may be remembered as among the most memorable in post-apocalyptic science fiction; the debut of the "Blood of the Lamb" trilogy that may earn distinction as one of the best ever written for young adult fiction. On a remote Pacific island, Onewere, the brown-skinned natives seek guidance from and obey the teachings of the Apostles, the white elite inhabiting the decaying cruise ship Star of the Sea, worshipping the Apostles as though they are living gods. Survivors of a world-wide calamity remembered by them as The Tribulation, the natives offer their blind obedience to the Apostles, not realizing that the Apostles have twisted and transformed the Holy Scripture within the Bible towards their own bloodthirsty aims, treating them as if they were merely domesticated animals. That is until young Maryam, on the threshold of adulthood, arrives on the ship, and soon realizes that she must disobey The Rules of the Apostles if she wishes to survive. Hers is an epic tale of love and loss, and one deserving of an audience that goes way beyond its intended Young Adult readers. It is also one of the finest recently-published novels I have read with a post-apocalyptic theme, and one far more memorable in its exceptional storytelling craft and prose than other, highly touted, recent novels with a post-apocalyptic, dystopian setting. I look forward to reading the other novels in Hager's "Blood of the Lamb" saga.