Rainwalkers is a story set in the not-so-distant future in a crumbling version of John Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley, after the breakup of the United States. A once rich and prosperous agricultural land is now a war-torn nation-state known only as The Valley. To combat chronic droughts, scientists seeded clouds with genetically engineered bacteria that created regular rains but unintentionally made the rains lethal to humans. Anyone caught in the rain dies within seconds, yet there are rumors of people who survive… known as rainwalkers.
In a land of forced labor camps and waning oil fields, poverty-stricken agricultural communities support the metropolis of Salinas City and the authoritarian Valley Administration in their unending war against neighboring nations. In desperation, the Valley Administration intensifies their search for rainwalkers, who are believed to be powerful weapons in the border wars, by forcing children housed at Valley schools into the rain to be screened for resistance.
War hero Willie Taft lives a quiet agrarian life until the Administration abducts him and his wife, separating them from their daughter. Although his wife is killed during their escape, Willie continues his journey to rescue their daughter. He faces mortal challenges from the Administration military force, the sociopath bounty hunter on his trail, and the ever-present toxic rain. Time is running out as he fights his way through the Valley back to his daughter’s school before she is forcefully screened with other children in the deadly rain.
A Note From the Publisher
“A terrific novel of climate change and genetic engineering; a first-rate cautionary read set against the backdrop of an all-too-probable future.”
—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Hominids
“A bleak, well-written, environmental, science fiction actioner.”
“Ritter is a masterful storyteller. His fluent and literary prose is something that the rising new cli-fi genre needs more of.”
—Dan Bloom, editor, The Cli-Fi Report
Shortlisted for the International Rubery Book Award in Fiction
Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 18 members
Rainwalkers is a brilliant work of dystopian fiction by a new author. This book also reminded me of a Western novel but I am not sure if this was intentional on the author's part. Sometime in the near future (or an alternative reality?), the people of California live in constant fear of the rain and of outsiders. The state (Management) has been diligent to solve both of these problems, but when they start messing with people's lives, a hero has to step up. This story is wonderful. So much popular fiction these days focuses on the antihero. I, for one, am so over that. Can we not just have people be wonderful and courageous because they have morals and inner strength? This is an amazingly hero story. You will enjoy loving the main character and enjoy hating the enemy. There are several courageous people in this story that are worthy of emulating and will encourage you in your love for humanity. The plot line is so imaginative, like nothing you will have seen previously. The author did a wonderful job of doing the delicate dance of creating a good narrative while also teaching a story with morals and a lesson. Many stories create an obvious separation between the two, but not this author. You will be spurred on to think about how this story applies to life and society today without detracting from the fictional narrative. I highly recommend this book! Finally, an author who believes that people can be strong of heart and character without their circumstances forcing them into it! Thank you to NetGalley and Pacific Street Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
So beautiful. Not only the prose, but the style of the story, there was something quite unique about it and it deeply connected with me. I highly recommend it!
One reason I enjoyed this story is how conceivable it is. Rainwalkers is an all too possible and slightly futuristic novel. Scientists sought to solve the devastating drought in a once robust land with genetically engineered rain clouds. Despite their best intentions, this man-made rain turned out to be lethal to humans. Rumor is, there are some people who are not affected by the toxic rain... these select people are known as rainwalkers. The book focuses on Willie Taft, who is ex-military and will stop at nothing to be reunited with his daughter after being separated by the authoritarian Administration. The good intentions gone wrong, parents stopping at nothing to save their child, and the powerful governing body having no qualms of sacrificing few for "the greater good", it is easy to see why this story feels conceivable -especially now in 2021. The book did take a while to make me feel invested but it is made up for it as the story continued. This is the kind of story that stays with you and I am very glad that I had the privilege to read it. I physically read as well as listed to the audio version of this book. Matt Ritter himself narrated the audio and was the perfect voice for Taft. I look forward to reading another novel by Ritter.
Interesting dystopian novel that resonates with the current conversation on climate change. California has separated into various regions due to war and disagreements. Man’s desire to control the weather system to enhance crop efficiency has resulted in harmful chemicals being dispersed into the atmosphere and the result a climate catastrophe. Storylines follow a family separated by imprisonment, resistance fighters, scientists fighting to prevent fatalities occurring and those at the top with the ultimate power. One of those books you can’t put down, everyone is racing against time to save lives. Would make a good movie. Thanks to Netgalley the author and publishers Pacific Street Publishing for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.