Prather’s Pick: ‘The Traitor’s Crux’ offers twists, surprises
This week, I have the honor of reviewing my granddaughter Jessica’s first novel, just released in November. “The Traitor’s Crux” was written by Jessica Prather and is published by Oftomes Publishing, United Kingdom.
This Dystopian science fiction novel is intended for young adult readers, though, believe me, adults will enjoy reading it, too.
In the prologue, 16-year-old Kenadee Coria remembers a night nine years before, when her father hid her in a space the family used for food storage. From her hiding place, Kenadee hears horrible sounds from her father and the soldiers, her mother’s screams and the sounds of bullets.
When Kenadee finally bursts from the hiding place, she sees her father lying in a pool of blood, and her handcuffed brother, Eli, being dragged away by the soldiers. She and her mother have not heard from Eli since.
It is a Witch’s War that began with President Malen, a monster man who has magical powers and uses them to gain more power. In his quest, he sees to it there was no longer a Constitution, a Bill of Rights or a Congress. Kenadee thinks about how the people let him do it.
Then, President Malen is assassinated, and Vice-President Reed takes over. Reed has his own agenda, but is smarter than Malen and knows how to gain the loyalty of the people. Now, he targets the magic population of the country.
Once every month, the soldiers visit Kenadee and her mother to test them for “the disease.” They are shunned by other citizens. Only the Rivers family remains friendly with them, but then, Kenadee finds Joshua and Heather Rivers dead and a blood stained paper with a strange message.
One morning at school, Kenadee is summoned to the principal’s office and is surprised to find President Reed there, too. And that isn’t the only surprise. President Reed tells Kenadee that Eli is in a prison camp, and now, her mother is there, too, having been taken that very morning. They have been secretly testing Kenadee, and she also has magic powers.
President Reed wants Kenadee to use her powers to help bring in a group of magic refugees. If she succeeds, her brother and mother will be set free. Kenadee will have to live in the camp and gain the trust of the refugees. It’s a dangerous and, perhaps, deadly mission.
Kenadee’s decision leads her down Rabbit Ears Pass and into Steamboat Springs, where the refugees live. The reader meets some interesting characters, indeed, and Kenadee struggles with her mission.
The plot of “The Traitor’s Crux” is lively, and there are plenty of twists and surprises along the way, with an ending that catches the reader off guard.
Jessica’s novel is available at Downtown Books or at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Library. The softcover book costs $10.99 and is the first book in a trilogy.
Jessica will be at the Chamber Mixer at Downtown Books at 5 p.m. Dec. 14.
I spent this past Saturday morning preparing for Sunday’s lunch branding — at least what I could get done early. I cooked pasta and boiled eggs. I made a gelatin salad. I decided to bake a banana cake, a family favorite, for dessert.