by Robert McCammon
The Border represents a return by Robert McCammon to the type of books that first made him famous as a writer. As good as his most recent books featuring Matthew Corbett are, most of his earlier writing was dark, scary, and epic in scale.
The book begins two years after most of the world has been destroyed by two different alien races. The Gorgons and Cyphers--as they've become known by the survivors--have been involved in an intergalactic war for ages. Two years ago the frontline of that war moved to earth, and with far inferior technology and weapons, the collective armies of the world were decimated in a matter of hours. As the war raged on, the planet and its inhabitants continued to be poisoned and destroyed, with those able to survive living in hiding and slowly running out of resources.
A small group of survivors in Colorado has almost reached the end of their food and water supplies when they find a teenage boy calling himself Ethan. He's amnesiac and whatever caused his loss of memory has also left him with significant physical injuries. As they take him in and try to discover who he is and where he came from, Ethan begins to exhibit inexplicable powers, and strange symbols begin to appear on his bruised and battered body.
As Ethan continues to transform into something no one can explain, he and those with him begin to realize that he may be the planet's last and only hope for survival, and maybe even the end of the war they never wanted any part of.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story McCammon tells in The Border. The alien races he creates would be right at home in one of his earlier horror novels, and the human characters he creates are easy to care about. It's a good example of a writer who has had decades to sharpen his craft and knows what it takes to tell a story that grabs you, scares you, and entertains you all at the same time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆