In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world.
As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.
About the Author
I was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia. But I only stayed there for the first four months of my life and have never even been back to the East Coast of America. Since then, I’ve lived in Hawaii, Washington, California, and England.
I’ve only ever really wanted to be a writer. I studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and when I graduated, I got a job as a corporate writer at a cable company in Los Angeles, writing manuals and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California, Garlic Festival. I got my first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on my first novel when I moved to London in 1999. I’ve lived here ever since. I taught Creative Writing at Oxford University for three years, usually to students older than I was. I write for one of the U.K. national papers, and I’ve also been writer in residence for Booktrust. Anything and everything to do with writing, that’s how I want to make my life.
I made up stories all the time when I was young, though I was usually too embarrassed to show them to anybody. That’s okay if you do that; when you’re ready, you’re ready. The important thing is to keep writing.
For young adults, I’ve written A Monster Calls, More Than This, and the Chaos Walking trilogy: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer, and Monsters of Men. I’ve also written two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I Know Nothing, a title that seemed funny at the time but less so 10,000 mentions later.
Here’s a helpful hint if you want to be a writer: When I’m working on a first draft, all I write is 1,000 words a day, which isn’t that much (I started out with 300, then moved up to 500, now I can do 1,000 easy). And if I write my 1,000 words, I’m done for the day, even if it only took an hour (it usually takes more, of course, but not always). Novels are anywhere from 60,000 words on up, so it’s possible that just sixty days later you might have a whole first draft. The Knife of Never Letting Go is 112,900 words and took about seven months to get a good first draft. Lots of rewrites followed. That’s the fun part, where the book really starts to come together just exactly how you see it, the part where you feel like a real writer.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I have a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. I’ve run three marathons.
3. Under no circumstances will I eat onions.
Read an Excerpt
" WE HIT TH E SPACKLE HEAD ON !" the Mayor shouts at the men, aiming his Noise right in the middle of everyone's heads.
"They'll be gathering at the bottom of the road," he says, "but that's as far as they're going to go!"
I put a hand on Angharrad's flank beneath me. In under two minutes, the Mayor had us up on horseback, Morpeth and Angharrad coming running from round the back of the ruins of the cathedral, and by the time we'd hopped up, stepping over the still unconshus bodies of the men who tried to help me overthrow the Mayor, there was the army taking messy shape in front of us.
Not all of it, tho, maybe less than half, the rest still stretched up along the southern road to the hill with the notch on it, the road to where the battle was sposed to be.
Angharrad's thinking and I can feel spikes of nerves all thru her body. She's scared nearly half to death.
So am I.
"BATTALIONS READY!" the Mayor shouts and immediately Mr. Hammar and the later-arriving Mr. Tate and Mr. O'Hare and Mr. Morgan snap salutes and the soldiers start lining up in the right formayshuns, twisting thru each other in coils and getting into order so quickly it almost hurts my eyes to watch it.
"I know," the Mayor says. "It's a thing of beauty, isn't it?" I point my rifle at him, the rifle I took from Davy.
"You just remember our agreement," I say. "Yer gonna keep Viola safe and you ain't gonna control me with yer Noise. You do that and you stay alive. That's the only reason I let you go."
His eyes flash. "You realize that means you can't let me out of your sight," he says, "even if you have to follow me into battle. Are you ready for that, Todd?"
"I'm ready," I say, even tho I ain't but I'm trying not to think about it.
"I have a feeling you'll do well," he says.
"Shut up," I say. "I beat you once, I'll beat you again." He grins. "Of that I have no doubt."
"THE MEN ARE READY, SIR!" Mr. Hammar shouts from his horse, saluting fiercely.
The Mayor keeps his eyes on me. "The men are ready, Todd," he says, his voice teasing. "Are you?"
"Just get on with it."
And his smile gets even wider. He turns to the men. "Two divisions down the western road for the first attack!" His voice snakes thru everyone's head again, like a sound you can't ignore. "Captain Hammar's division at the front, Captain Morgan taking the rear! Captains Tate and O'Hare will round up the rest of the men and armaments yet to arrive and join the fray with the greatest dispatch."
Armaments? I think.
"If the fight isn't already over by the time they join us-" The men laugh at this, a loud, nervous, aggressive kind of laugh.
"Then as a united army, we will drive the Spackle back up that hill and make them regret the day they were EVER BORN!"
And the men give a roaring cheer.
"Sir!" Captain Hammar shouts. "What about the army of the Answer, sir?"
"First we beat the Spackle," says the Mayor, "then the Answer will be child's play."
He looks across his army of men and back up the hill to the Spackle army, still marching down. Then he raises his fist and gives the loudest Noise shout of all, a shout that bores right down into the very center of every man hearing it.
"TO BATTLE!" the army cries back at him and sets off at a fierce pace outta the square, racing toward the zigzag hill. The Mayor looks at me one last time, like he can barely keep from laughing at how much fun he's having. And with- out another word, he spurs Morpeth hard in the sides and they gallop into the square after the departing army.
The army heading off to war.
Follow? Angharrad asks, fear coming off her like sweat.
"He's right," I say. "We can't let him out of our sight. He's got to keep his word. He's got to win his war. He's got to save her."
For her, Angharrad thinks.
For her, I think back, all my feeling about her behind it. And I think her name-
And Angharrad leaps forward into battle.