It is a June unlike any other before, with temperatures soaring to asphyxiating heights. All across the world, freak weather patternsand the life-shattering catastrophes they entailhave become the norm. The twenty-first century has entered a new phase.
But Gabrielle Fox's main concern is a personal one: to rebuild her life after a devastating car accident that has left her disconnected from the world, a prisoner of her own guilt and grief. Determined to make a fresh start, and shake off memories of her wrecked past, she leaves London for a temporary posting as an art therapist at Oxsmith Adolescent Secure Psychiatric Hospital, home to one hundred of the most dangerous children in the country. Among them: the teenage killer Bethany Krall.
Despite two years of therapy, Bethany is in no way rehabilitated and remains militantly nonchalant about the bloody, brutal death she inflicted on her mother. Raised in evangelistic hellfire, the teenager is violent, caustic, unruly, and cruelly intuitive. She is also insistent that her electroshock treatments enable her to foresee natural disastersa claim which Gabrielle interprets as a symptom of doomsday delusion.
But as Gabrielle delves further into Bethany's psyche, she begins to note alarming parallels between her patient's paranoid disaster fantasies and actual incidents of geological and meteorological upheavalcoincidences her professionalism tells her to ignore but that her heart cannot. When a brilliant physicist enters the equation, the disruptive tension mountsand the stakes multiply. Is the self-proclaimed Nostradamus of the psych ward the ultimate manipulator or a harbinger of global disaster on a scale never seen before? Where does science end and faith begin? And what can love mean in interesting times?
With gothic intensity, Liz Jensen conjures the increasingly unnerving relationship between the traumatized therapist and her fascinating, deeply calculating patient. As Bethany's warnings continue to prove accurate beyond fluke and she begins to offer scientifically precise hints of a final, world-altering cataclysm, Gabrielle is confronted with a series of devastating choices in a world in which belief has become as precious - and as murderousas life itself.
"Starred Review. In gorgeous prose, Jensen (Egg Dancing) paints a depressing but oddly hopeful portrait of a modern doomsday scenario." - Publishers Weekly
"Any one of [the] plot strands could plausibly drive an arresting story. When Jensen...folds them all together, the result is a ride even bumpier than the one that killed Gabrielle's lover." - Kirkus Reviews
"Combining the tensions of modern psychology with scientific speculation and social analysis in a speedy plot, Jensen put me rather in mind of Margaret Atwood a cracking good read." - Sunday Telegraph (UK)
"Excellent...beautifully structured....an engaging thriller about a relevant contemporary issue while still respecting the reader's brain cells you'll be gripped." - The Guardian (UK)
"[A] rollicking eco thriller that successfully high-octane action with a prescient overview of the dangers of climate change....this smart, salient author creates a scenario in which environmental calamity is the backdrop to a gripping tale of love, death and religion, set in the not-too-distant future.....deliciously apocalyptic and jammed full of ideas, this is storytelling at its rapturous best." - Daily Mail (UK)
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Liz Jensen was born in Oxfordshire, to an Anglo-Moroccan librarian mother and a Danish violin-maker father. She studied English at Somerville College, Oxford and worked first as a journalist in Hongkong and Taiwan. She then worked as a TV and radio producer for the BBC in the UK.
In 1987 she moved to France where she worked as a sculptor and freelance journalist, and she began writing her first novel, Egg Dancing. This was published in 1995, after her return to London, where she wrote Ark Baby (1998), The Paper Eater(2000), War Crimes for the Home (2002), The Ninth Life of Louis Drax (2004), My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time (2006) and The Rapture (2009). She is currently working on her eighth novel, a ghost story.
Jensen's work has been short-listed for the Guardian Fiction award...
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