Marian Womack’s debut The Golden Key was published last year — bad year for a debut novel, I must say — but it still managed to get a lot of attention. Booklist called it a mix of “Spiritualism, the suffragette movement, and the fairy tales of Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald… an elegant sense of mystery and otherworldliness. This gothic fantasy will captive fans of historical fiction.”
Her second novel The Swimmers, set in an Earth ravaged by climate change, imagines a world in which the rich live in the Upper Settlement rings high in orbit, and the rest of humanity struggles to survive in a dangerously transformed world, a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. Publishers Weekly calls it a “meticulously detailed sophomore novel set in a vivid, believable eco-dystopia… Readers will be captivated.”
Here’s an excerpt from Amy Walker’s review at Set the Tape.
Following global warming the world has been transformed, covered in a vast, always changing jungle, filled with mutant animals. There are three groups of people surviving in this future: those who get to live high above the Earth in the huge ring that surrounds the planet; the Techies, old families who were once responsible for the construction and upkeep of the large barriers that keep out the deadly seas, but have to live on the surface; and the Beanies, a recently freed group of people that were once slave and servants, working in the Techie homes and growing food in the jungles.
Pearl is a Techie, and has grown up in a remote estate in the jungles, but after her father leaves her life after apparently killing a child, Pearl’s childhood takes a turn she didn’t expect. Eventually her mother remarries, and the family get to move to one of the last towns left, where she begins to learn more about the world around her, and starts to uncover some secrets about her family and their past.
The Swimmers was published by Titan Books on February 23, 2021. It is 343 pages, priced at $15.95 in trade paperback, and $9.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Julia Lloyd.
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