Tor, Feb 2009, $25.95
Former marine "Sarge" Whitemore renovates Clothos, an isolated island that once was a Benedictine monk monastery. The only survivor from the religious order is elderly lay brother Benny. After the reconstruction is completed, Sarge offers a deal to affluent parents with troubled youngsters. In exchange for an exorbitant amount of money, he informs them that he can save their dissolute off spring from themselves and the ugly world. Give him their kids so his “hermetically sealed private school” can “keep them safe”.
The response from bone weary emotionally shot adults is incredible as bidding wars over obtaining one of the hundred seats begin. Sarge collects the chosen hundred; tosses away their gizmos and on Destination Day takes them to the remote isle that the unhappy kids scornfully call Mount Clothos. Nothing works in accordance with the plan as the physician is a drunk, kids hack into the computer room, Benny hid an ailing friend whose illness has pandemically spread amongst the residents, and then there is the rest of the staff and the ghost.
Ironically in spite of his martinet throwback drill instructor persona, Sarge is not the champion of this intriguing story line. Instead the teens led by peer Killer Stade are the heroes as they fight to stop the virus spread and the mob mentality of the staff and faculty. Quite frankly adults are condemned (worse than in Wild in the Streets) as miscreants who fail at the ecology, at raising their kids, and at saving those stuck at the isolated island. Fans who appreciate something off beat will enjoy this satirical allegorical thriller that claims the boomers and Gen X as pathetic losers with the present teen generation the only hope to save the planet from its elders.