21805566Stand close around, ye Stygian set,
With Dirce in one boat convey’d,
Or Charon, seeing, may forget
That he is old, and she a shade.
– Walter Savage Landor – Pericles and Aspasia (l. 5–8)

If we do not change our negative habits toward climate change, we can count on worldwide disruptions in food production, resulting in mass migration, refugee crises and increased conflict over scarce natural resources like water and farm land. This is a recipe for major security problems. – Michael Franti

We cannot permit the extreme in the environmental movement to shut down the United States. We cannot shut down the lives of many Americans by going to the extreme on the environment. – George Bush (b. 1924), U.S. Republican politician, president. Speech, May 30, 1992, at campaign rally, California on the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit.

Yeah. How’s that workin’ out for everybody but you? – Me

 

Lachesis measures out the thread, while Clotho weaves upon the loom, but Moros walks amongst us still, personification of impending doom, drives mortals to their lethal fate, while deadly Atropos cuts the thread. . . OK. I wrote that part, but Sarah Fine’s Marked made me feel poetic. I literally got lost in her words, in her story of Cacy Ferry and her family. The Ferry’s have a secret – their father, Patrick, is the physical manifestation of Charon, the ferryman of the dead. And Cacy and her siblings all carry the weight of the souls they guide to the afterlife. One gold coin for a lifetime of lost happiness. The fee paid to the Ferrymen, and women, to carry out their duties.

Ah, but the fee must be shared – shared with the Kere, scions of Moros, bringer of death through violence and disease. Is it that simple, that these gold coins are the cause in the disruption of the warp and weave measured and spun out by the Moirai? For something is badly wrong in the world, and Cacy and her family are right in the center of the widening gyre.

But they stand not alone. For when Cacy meets Eli and Galena Margolis, what she understood as right takes a sudden turn into shocking – and her life, and her jobs, will never be the same. Nor, possibly, will the existence of the very Fates.

Jobs? Well, yes. For while Cacy could hold a white glove position in her family company, Psychopomps Incorporated, she chooses instead to become an EMT in Boston. Which doesn’t sound all that bad – except for the fact that The Great Flood of 2049 has placed Boston mostly underwater now, massive canals and dams the only thing between the populace and total inundation. Being underwater is bad. Really bad, as disease organisms make the water deadly, and canal pirates make life for most a living hell. Poor to no police or fire protection, minimal power, and the aforementioned pirates make Boston a dangerous place to be. But the fact that it is actually one of the safest cities still extant proves just how bad the rest of the world must be. Running water? He’d never actually seen such a thing. Clean water was like gold in Pittsburgh, and carefully rationed. Eli and Galena are from “The West” – better known as Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh – desert lands. Is Pittsburgh truly the farthest reaches of the US? Is it all a barren desert past Pittsburgh? Or is the country past that desert wasteland, a land of cactus and sand, simply gone – subsumed by rising waters?

So. Two tales here, in this wonderful, wonderful book. On the one hand, a tale as old as life, and death, itself – Eli, Galena, Cacy and her family will find their lives woven together, in a race against time and murder – and possibly to save the tapestry upon the loom – the divine machine that churned out the endless fabric of life. The Fates themselves cannot hold the centre – the warp and weave is failing. Are Eli and Galena the answer? Or will Atropos rule over all?

The second story is just as poignant in its own way – and more terrifying. It is simple to see the story, wrapped within the story, as flooding and desertification take over the world, climate change wiping a brutal hand over what humans have built. Voltaire had it right when he said, “Men argue. Nature acts”. We laugh at the dragon, as Tolkien pointed out. While he was talking of real dragons, we laugh at the dragon of the changes we have wrought upon the world, and in our blindness, we determine our own fate.

This MARVELOUS book is the first in the Servants of Fate series. Book two, Claimed, is waiting for me on my reader and I can hardly wait to get started. I received Marked from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review, but no matter what, I cannot speak highly enough of this book. Life, death, betrayal, horror, romance – it’s all here, and all marvelously written. I highly recommend the series. I also intend to pick up Ms. Fine’s previous series, Guards of the Shadowlands. Sarah is already on my auto purchase list.

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