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Children Of The Dust


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A post-nucelar holocaust novel descrived by the author herself as, 'my cry against the monstrous weapons men have made'.

About the Author

Louise Lawrence was born in Leatherhead, Surrey in 1943. When she left school she became an assistant librarian, 'from which came my love and respect for books, and my thirst for written knowledge'. Louise Lawrence married and had her first of three children in 1963. The experience turned her to writing- 'Deprived of book-filled surroundings I was bound to write my own.'Since 'O' levels she has not received a formal education, but has flourished as an auto-didact. Among her interests are Botany, Poetry, Religion, Yoga, Politics and the Occult. 'Attempting to understand people led me to study Psychology for many years - which led me to study Feminisim - which led to Sociology. The road is endless!'


Gr 6-9 Nuclear missiles are flying toward their targets. One family is separated: the father finds his way to an underground shelter while his wife and three children seal themselves in their living room. But only Catherine, the eight year old, stays completely inside, away from radiation, hiding under a blanket-covered table. And only she will survive. Her older sister, before she dies, takes Catherine to Johnson, an eccentric survivalist. Meanwhile, in a government bunker, Bill Harnden, the father, mates and has another daughter, Ophelia. As the years pass, a few survivors try to establish an agricultural foundation for a new society above ground, while in the shelter machines preserve a society unable to function in a new world. When the leaders of the shelter decide to commandeer the livestock of the outsiders, Bill and Ophelia go to warn them. In Johnson's camp, now a small village, Bill finds that his daughter Catherine is the mother of the first of a new breed of genetic mutants who are covered with fine white fur and have strange white eyes and psychic abilities. By the next generation, it is clear that the society underground cannot last, and Ophelia's son Simon must establish a bond with `` homo superior , the children of the dust'' so that technological knowledge is not lost forever. Lawrence is a powerful writer who skillfuly conveys the horrors of war and the small things that can break the spirit. However, it is difficult to portray effectively a long-term reaction to atomic destruction. The massive evolutionary changes which she projects occuring in just one generation stretch readers' credulity. Jean E. Karl's Strange Tomorrow (Dutton, 1985) is more believable; Robert Swindells' Brother in the Land (Holiday, 1985) has more depth of feeling. This is interesting, but not the best in a mushrooming field of apocalyptic science fiction. Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library

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