Two Roads to Paradise (by Gordon Jensen with Cara Highsmith) deals with a very divided America. This second offering in the Be Careful What You Wish For series continues where The Way Out left off. The world is recovering from a pandemic caused by a genetically modified corn that was originally constructed to become biofuel for a deep-space mission to Proxima b in the Alpha Centauri galaxy. But since it was quick growing, the new strain of corn was used to feed the burgeoning population as well. The downside of this new supposedly wonder food showed up a few years later with reduced live births and fewer viable male babies.
Seems the corn negatively affected the Y chromosome. So, more birth defects and infant deaths. With the return of the Alpha Centauri I, in The Way Out, after a strange 40-year absence, hopes for a cure and vaccine had been high, aided by the unaffected male crew members. But no such luck.
In Two Roads to Paradise, it’s now about three years after the events portrayed in The Way Out. Hunter Young, one of the crew members on the Alpha Centauri I, is now an official in President Margaret Marshall’s administration. He’s also a member of the K Group, a resistance group be trying to rectify the cure and also de-radicalize the country, which had grown ever more divided along red and blue lines.
A major part of Two Roads to Paradise covers a trip Hunter Young takes to meet Lydia Statham. Statham is a former major in the US Army and a leader in the resistance. Travel is tough because of tension and border patrols between the various disgruntled red and blue sections. Thus, he travels by water along part of the Great American Loop. He then crosses northern Mexico by car to get to Nevada.
Young, Latham and other resistance members attempt to steal a new cure from a group who want to only provide it to certain groups of white people. All does not go as planned with the resistance’s heist. What is to become of the K Group? Can anybody calm the frayed nerves on both sides of the country’s divided population?
Gordon Jensen is spot on with his characters. One can see Hunter Young, the man of action, twitching and wiggling a foot as he sits through another interminable DC meeting. Lydia Statham, although polite and friendly, is still very much a retired major and a good leader in the resistance. In his travels from Washington, DC, to Nevada, Young engages with well drawn characters who stand out as individuals.
Jensen covers a few current hot topics, such as pandemics and how the government handles information releases and acceptance of a new vaccine. Another topic is the tension between blue and red states. Jensen heightens the tensions. Groups of states band together into different regional zones based on the predominant ideology of each alliance. Canada and the northern part of Mexico are now called The Americas, rather than just the United States of America. Jensen’s outlook may well be very prescient.
Overall, a well-written work. One exception in an enjoyable read is a rather dull dissertation on the politics of the territorial divisions.
I received a free copy of this work from ireadbooktours.com in exchange for an honest review.