by Augarde, Steve

After they are granted coveted places on an island in a future world devastated by flooding, Baz and Ray discover that their new home is ruled by an unpredictable religious fanatic and they plan a dangerous rebellion against him.

Steve Augarde was born in Birmingham, England, but spent most of his life in the West Country, working as an illustrator, paper engineer, and semi-pro jazz musician. He has written and illustrated over 70 picture books for younger children and has produced the paper engineering for many pop-up books, including those by other artists-as well as providing the artwork and music for two animated BBC television series. His first book for older children, The Various, won a Smarties Silver Award in 2003. Steve is married, with two daughters, and lives in Yorkshire.

Following a cataclysmic flood, the few people left on the mainland struggle to survive. Parents offer gifts to get their sons to Ecks' Island; this seems to be their only chance for a future. Only a few are chosen, and Baz and Ray are the last. When they reach the island, what they find is not a bright future but a nightmare. They learn that the unofficial name of the island, X-Isle, is true on several levels: hard labor, hunger, fear, distrust, and submission are the norm. Baz and Ray become catalysts for change-they encourage cooperation, ingenuity, and trust among the boys as they seek ways to overthrow the fanatic Preacher John and his cruel sons. Futuristic in its setting, this is a thrilling story of survival, with twists and turns enough to keep readers engaged and waiting for a sequel. First published in the UK in 2009, Augarde's story joins other similarly themed fantasies, including Marcus Sedgwick's Floodland (2001) and Julie Bertagna's Exodus (2008). Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

In a devastated future world, two boys struggle to survive a brutal, bizarre existence on X-Isle. Two years after the "floods came and washed the world away," Baz leaves his Dad on the mainland when he wins a coveted place as a laborer on X-Isle, a mysterious salvage operation isolated on high ground. En route, Baz is drawn to Ray, a small, smart and steely boy. Both expect to work hard in exchange for food, shelter and clothing. Neither is prepared for the abusive climate they encounter as captives of Preacher John, a religious fanatic convinced the floods are a punishment demanding biblical sacrifice. Treated like dogs, the boys eventually band together with fellow captives, devise an ingenious bomb and are forced to make life-or-death decisions. In this dangerous, dicey and displaced world tainted by evil men and base instincts, the surviving boys of X-Isle foster hope in a surprising conclusion. A powerful, disturbing story laced with quirky, memorable characters and fast-paced masculine action and interaction—perfect for male teens. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

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