By: Peter Hackshaw
Narrated by: Dan Stevens
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
Release date: 01-26-21
Publisher: Podium Audio
Genre: Adventure, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.5; Narration 4.5.
Narrated by award-winning actor Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, FX’s Legion) Ever Winter is a vivid and eloquent story of loss, rehabilitation, and revenge set in a post-apocalyptic ice world.
Far from the savage remnants of humanity, Henry and his family have managed to survive the grip of desolate, perpetual winter on a vast tundra that was once an ocean teeming with life. When the family is discovered, their peaceful existence is shattered and their lives changed forever.
Henry’s siblings are kidnapped, leaving him alone in the ruins of their home. Broken, altered, and tormented by all that has befallen him, he is driven to wreak vengeance upon those who assume him dead...by any means necessary.
Fans of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven will enjoy the raw, emotional pull of debut author Peter Hackshaw’s writing.
©2020 Peter Hackshaw (P)2021 Podium Audio
Henry is a teen raised with his younger sisters and brothers in a solitary family. His parents made a choice to go into the wilderness in the vast tundra, once an ocean, where they struggle to survive the perpetual winter. Henry’s father taught him to stay alive, scavenge, and provide food for the family. One day they found a recently dead body in the snow. They scavenged from the body as that is the way of the wild. This act led to another man showing up at their home while Henry and his father were out. They return to find the man charming the younger girls although their mother is cautious. Henry’s father sends the man on his way and warns the family that they need to relocate.
Henry, his sister Mary, and their father make a remarkable find of a supply ship frozen in the former ocean. Henry remains behind intent on opening a container. When he returns home, he finds the home on fire, his mother and infant son killed and his father dying. His siblings have been kidnapped and Henry swears to find and rescue them.
But what can a young boy do against a community led by brutal, evil men and women? His first attempt meets with failure and he is dragged out to the snow and left to die. Surprisingly, another young boy sneaks out to try to help. Then an android entity arrives to treat his injuries and bring him back to the ship to be nursed back to health. In the process Henry is changed and trained to become a warrior who might be able to face the savage community where his sisters reside.
The story started just a bit slowly, but I was soon wrapped into Henry’s world and cheering for the family’s, specifically Henry’s, survival. I liked the AI companion and the other feline companion that Henry managed to befriend.
Peter Hackshaw created a fascinating, if brutal, world, and then added historic (to Henry but not the reader/listener) elements including a surprise vehicle. Admittedly the story is harsh with deprivation, violence and evil. Some sensitive readers might be offended by some of the scenes. I cringed a few times but, overall, I appreciated the author’s ability to weave a tale of personal determination in a harsh world. I recommend this to readers who like dystopian and can handle the evil elements that might exist in a broken-down society. I would be interested in reading more by Mr. Hackshaw.
Audio Notes: Dan Stevens does an excellent job with the narration. He provides distinct voices and accents that fit the characters. The narration added to my enjoyment of the story and I would be glad to listen to more stories narrated by Mr. Stevens.
Source: 2021 NetGalley. This qualifies for 2021NetGalley and 2021Alphabet goals.