Together at the end of the world: Cover + synopsis for Wayward by Chuck Wendig

(image via Gizmodo (c) Del Ray Books)

Five years ago, ordinary Americans fell under the grip of a strange new malady that caused them to sleepwalk across the country to a destination only they knew. They were followed on their quest by the shepherds: friends and family who gave up everything to protect them.

Their secret destination: Ouray, a small town in Colorado that would become one of the last outposts of civilization. Because the sleepwalking epidemic was only the first in a chain of events that led to the end of the world—and the birth of a new one.

The survivors, sleepwalkers and shepherds alike, have a dream of rebuilding human society. Among them are Benji, the scientist struggling through grief to lead the town; Marcy, the former police officer who wants only to look after the people she loves; and Shana, the teenage girl who became the first shepherd—and an unlikely hero whose courage will be needed again.

Because the people of Ouray are not the only survivors, and the world they are building is fragile. The forces of cruelty and brutality are amassing under the leadership of self-proclaimed president Ed Creel. And in the very heart of Ouray, the most powerful survivor of all is plotting its own vision for the new world: Black Swan, the A.I. who imagined the apocalypse.

Against these threats, Benji, Marcy, Shana, and the rest have only one hope: one another. Because the only way to survive the end of the world is together. (synopsis via Gizmodo)

It is a rare thing indeed to find a wholly original approach to telling the story of the end of the world.

But in Wanderers Chuck Wendig manages it breathtakingly well, crafting a story that is expansive in its vision, richly alive with fully-formed characters and sobering in its imaginative intensity and raw humanity.

Now this most unique of novels has a sequel, Wayward, and from the brief excerpt provided to us in the Gizmodo story, “Get a First Peek at Chuck Wendig’s Post-Apocalyptic Wanderers Sequel, Wayward”, it looks like it’s going to be bit the thoughtful, immersive read that it’s predecessor is, with a stunning cover courtesy of Carlos Beltrán and David Stevenson (cover design), and Michael Bryan (cover art).

The world has ended and it’s at this point in most apocalyptic books that we simply get the end of all things, humanity at its worst and the world at its most final and dire.

But the synopsis refreshingly suggests that Wayward might, like Station Eleven, The Lightest Object in the Universe, The Beginning of the End and The Book of M and other books before it, offer some hope, the kind with muscularity, strength and motivating power, the kind of hope that moves mountains and might just making something good of the end of the world.

We find out if that’s the case on 2 August, 2022 when Wayward hit shelves.

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