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Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers' Favorite
Was it caused by a war as the government claims, possibly an accident or even natural disaster? No one remembered, but many generations later, the descendents of the North Americans, long in exile in South America, return to the devastation of what was once their homeland. The cities are rebuilt, surrounded by walls to keep out the savage descendents of those who were left behind.
Anthropologist Thomas Martin’s plan is to study the savages who live in the ruins, eating rats, garbage and even their own dead. These outsiders are called dregs and thought of as subhuman as they somehow survive hunting vermin and wild dogs and living off the government handouts dumped outside the walls. One of Martin’s study subjects reveals some new secrets and sets off a chain of events that uncovers a government conspiracy which forces Martin to escape into the ruins. So now he has a real chance to see how the dregs live. Studying them is one thing, quite another to become one of them and survive. Why does the Institute for Medical Research want Martin dead? Is it because they are afraid he will learn of the plans of the Institute and the Militia to take care of the dreg problem, once and for all?
A chilling and sobering look at “what if” makes one doubt whether something like this really happen. I’ve always been a big fan of post-apocalypse books. "Scavengers" is a well written story taking a long-used theme and adding a fresh look. With occasional stomach rumbling details, the author weaves a strong character-driven tale, one of survival and, yes, even rebirth. Well done.