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The Book of M
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2018
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  Publishers Weekly Review

An apocalyptic future in which an epidemic dubbed the Forgetting robs large swaths of the world's population of their shadows and memories-causing them to work dangerous magic-sets the scene for Shepherd's exciting debut. Husband and wife Ory and Max have been holed up in an abandoned hotel outside Arlington, Va., for two years, living hand-to-mouth off beef jerky and scavenged goods, and hiding from the predatory world outside, where the shadowless wreak havoc and misremember the old world into a new one (in one instance, a shadowless forgets what a house looks like; it is rebuilt with its roof on the floor). Then Max's shadow disappears. The couple devises protective rules, and Ory gives Max a tape recorder to document her memories. But when Max escapes, Ory sets out on a terrifying journey to find her. He is beset by enraged shadowless with electric guts; joins a book-collecting, shadowed army; and meets archer Mahnaz, who has a fascinating backstory of her own. Ory and Max separately gather stray rumors of a mythologized figure chasing a cure for shadowlessness in New Orleans, though it's uncertain whether they'll reach the city without dying. Though its characters sometimes slide into tropes, Shepard's debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
<p>Brad Thor's Summer 2018 Fiction Pick for THE TODAY SHOW!</p> <p>"Eerie, dark, and compelling, [The Book of M] will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014)." --Booklist</p> <p>WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE UP TO REMEMBER?</p> <p>Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.</p> <p>One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man's shadow disappears--an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.</p> <p>Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max's shadow disappears too.</p> <p>Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.</p> <p>As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.</p> <p>Like The Passage and Station Eleven, this haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.</p>
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