“They say the end of the world began when the president of the United States shot himself on national television…”
This is the first of three books currently available. The series will ultimately consist of five novels.
Before I get into what the story is about specifically, I want to let you know off the bat that this is a niche story: this entry novel into a dark mythological world consists of a crushingly dark and hopeless atmosphere, and is governed by characters who themselves are no white knights; they are wanderers trying to make sense out of a confusing world. To read the first entry of this series is like walking through a dark forest, with noises echoing from untraceable sources, shapes forming in the branches that look like something other than what they are, and all manner of things appearing out of nowhere. As the series continues, the forest opens up, and the characters begin to find agency in this new world.
There is slavery in this story, and implications of all forms of abuse (though sexual abuse is never explicitly described). The main characters are flawed to a fault; some may argue an unforgivable fault. There is no hero in this story, at least not in this opening entry to the series. This first book is somber, depressing, and bizarre. However, nihilism is not the overall theme of the series: quite the opposite, in fact.
On to the subject of the story…
The series begins two years after an event which rendered the world geographically unrecognizable and left less than ten percent of the population alive. Scholar, one of the two main characters, was lazing in his basement apartment when the event actually happened, so the details of this event are unknown to him, because nobody wants to talk about it.
The second main character is Ashley. He is a former Wall Street playboy who has learned how to adapt physically and psychologically to the new world. But he wants to get out of survival mode and see the world, motivated by a deep and burning desire he can’t quite put his finger on.
Finally, we have Cattleprod: a schoolteacher turned human-trafficker. He too has a desire within him to have a bigger impact on the world than he has in the past. Cunning and charismatic, he uses his skills to enlighten the new world by his grand vision for it.
The Turn as a series is a lot of things, a great many things, but the deepest staple in the narrative is the unlikely friendship that develops between the two main characters, Ashley and Scholar, and the strange and wild adventure they face together in this dark but rapidly-changing world.