The Road to Winter
Twenty years ago, John Marsden's Tomorrow series captivated a generation of readers. Now, Mark Smith's The Road to Winter tells a thrilling, primal, twenty-first century story of courage and survival in the Australian wilderness. Since a deadly virus and the violence that followed killed his parents and wiped out most of his community, Finn has lived alone on the rugged coast with only his loyal dog Rowdy for company. He has stayed alive for two winters - hunting and fishing and trading food, and keeping out of sight of the Wilders, an armed and dangerous gang that controls the north, led by a ruthless man named Ramage. But Finn's isolation is shattered when a girl runs onto the beach. Rose is a Siley - an asylum seeker - and she has escaped from Ramage, who had enslaved her and her younger sister, Kas. Rose is desperate, sick, and needs Finn's help. Kas is still missing somewhere out in the bush. And Ramage wants the girls back - at any cost. The Road to Winter is an unforgettable novel about survival, honour, friendship and love. It announces an extraordinary new talent.
'Engaging...Finn's strong voice carries the story and leaves you wanting to know what will happen next.' Books Publishing 'Part dystopian-future novel and part survival story, this is a fast moving and enthralling page turner for young adults, set on the Victorian coast. I could not put it down.' -- Bev Jacobsen, Library Co-ordinator, Campion Education Perth 'A read-in-one-session novel. The recognisable coastal setting, a world catastrophically changed by a virus, asylum seekers used as slave labour, and the dangerous Wilders give rise to interesting issues for student discussion.' -- Jan May, Teacher Education Consultant 'Had me on the edge of my seat the whole time and I finished it in a few hours...Such a thrilling read and fantastic characters.' -- Peggy Miedlar, NewsLink 'Loved it from beginning to end...Great characters...I can't wait to sell the pants off The Road to Winter!' -- Peter Ingram-Jones, Fullers Bookshop Hobart 'The Road to Winter is great. Fast-paced, relentless, poignant. What more could you want?' Written By Sime 'Mark Smith spins an enthralling tale of survival, the distinctly Australian backdrop of a coastal town setting it apart from other, generic post-apocalyptic titles. Finn was painted as intelligent, likable, and most importantly realistic.' YA Wonders 'This post-apocalyptic tale has heroes and villains, humour and heartache, and plenty of excitement. It may be branded Young Adult, but it is certain to be enjoyed by older readers as well...A brilliant debut from an author to watch.' BookMooch 'Terrifyingly real...A dark and gritty read.' Readings 'Fantastic...[Smith] clearly understands what makes young people want to read and this book certainly has many of these important attributes...It is a book they will gladly consume, discuss and remember.' Lamont Books 'Smith skilfully maintains an underlying tension. Whenever I put the book down, I felt as if I'd been holding my breath...The world Smith creates is convincing, perhaps because he takes real-world scenarios and kicks them up a notch.' New Zealand Listener 'Finn makes for an ideal protagonist because he always means to do the right thing; despite the horrors he has witnessed, he has no evil in him.' Australian 'The recognisably Australian setting and slant on socio-political issues will appeal to Australian teenaged readers. The economy of style, fast-moving plot and absence of intrusive explanations of issues will ensure that The Road to Winter is a thoroughly enjoyable experience though, like all the best speculative fiction, it leaves the reader with plenty to think about.' Magpies
Mark Smith lives on Victoria's west coast. His writing has won a number of awards and has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Review of Australian Fiction and the Big Issue. The Road to Winter is his first book.