Victoria Lehrer has written a compelling kickoff to the New Earth Chronicle series with The Augur’s View. She presents a dystopian world as it exists post Solar Blast, a coronal mass ejection which fries the electronics of every unshielded device in the world. Power lines and generation systems melt, causing fires to rage out of control. Airliners in flight crash around the world. A powered genetic elite, given forewarning of the event, have emerged from their underground sanctuaries to rule over the rubble. A few survivors have escaped the control of the newly established Union of the Americas; forming a small community of like-minded free people in the mountains around Durango, Colorado. But there is more going on here besides a human political struggle, forces more advanced than human are also in play and it’s unclear what their objectives will be in the end. The blast has also activated normally-recessive DNA in the survivors. Eena is a hybrid member of the elite faction who defects to join those living in freedom. Along the way she rediscovers the lost continent of Mu and a race of large birds, called augurs, which can be bonded and flown by human riders. As the elite works to rebuild aircraft and consolidate power, the augur riders stand in opposition.
Victoria Lehrer has tackled a story with a huge number of initial plot elements in play, and done it well. The Augur’s View sets the stage for what will almost certainly be a worthy series. I particularly liked Gavin and his heroic quest struggles to fit into the augur rider community. Dora’s serendipitous introduction was handled adroitly and she will also be an interesting character to follow. I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the second installment.