As the current age thunders to a close, five kids are playing together in a river that runs through a forest to the sea. All the while, the society they are soon to inherit is disintegrating. The story follows the diverse predispositions of the kids from the river into adulthood as they define their evolving personalities, amidst the chaos of their decaying world.
Marauding insurgents continually sweep down upon a teetering world government from autonomous northern frontiers, causing human suffering and misery.
As adults, the kids from the river take separate paths to finding love and losing it, to ascending on meteoric careers and plunging into the depths of self-destruction.
The desperate times open the way for Senator Aaron Mire, a charismatic charlatan, whose campaign is awash in conspiracies which polarize the kids from the river.
Amy Ramsey, a kid from the river, becomes the beautiful standard bearer for the Senator’s Genesis Party. Her position clashes with her father, John Ramsey, renowned as the “last great man.” Chairman of the world’s most successful company and the inventor of the mysterious Moon Glow project, John Ramsey is Mire’s most feared adversary.
Ramsey’s personal life is haunted by the memory of a fire-fight while on active duty patrol in the northern frontier, when he discovers his estranged son, born of an affair more than twenty years before, is among the insurgents he has killed.
James, a cheat and a liar when he was a kid in the river, maintains a twisted erotic passion for Amy, but her love since childhood has always been Max Morgan. With his powerful position in Mire’s New Order, James has Max imprisoned, using criminal connections and manufactured evidence to falsely link Max to terrorist activities.
Max’s claustrophobic isolation in prison is made painfully real by the prison experiences I witnessed as a prison corrections officer, while working my way through college, and years later, through interaction with my daughter’s murderer. While sequestered in isolation, Max battles ever encroaching madness to find liberation in a state of mind.
With Max locked away, James uses Amy to exact his erotic victory. Soon thereafter, his company is involved in an air traffic tragedy in which hundreds of lives are lost. James is indicted and is facing a lengthy prison term. At the same time, evidence surfaces to exonerate Max, resulting in his release.
As Senator Mire’s mystique grows, John Ramsey becomes infected with the dreaded Tezca virus, a pandemic plaguing the world’s population. Ramsey is able to self-analyze his dying experience during intermittent bolts of awareness that rifle through the black night of his coma. When next the kids from the river reconvene, it is at John Ramsey’s funeral.
James is already a withered, broken man facing years of incarceration. Max and Amy are, at long last, reunited. Together, they set the past is adrift downriver, around the bend and out of sight forever.
In these desperate times to come, the duration of life and memory diminish.
sat next to his father at the table and watched him admiringly as his mother
his plate with potatoes, her hair
freshly curled. She winked at Max and cast a nervous glance at her husband.
When she did, Max noticed her smile fall away.
How w-w-w-w-w-was your d-d-d-d-day?” she asked.
Max’s father responded gruffly.
Dad’s angry because he has to work so hard. He’s mad because Mom stutters and
he’s furious at the psycho dark ghosts. It’s their fault he has to serve in the
SS, away from his business. He’s upset most of the time.
“Wh-Wh-Wh-Wh-Where d-d-d-d-d-did you
cringed. Don’t Mom. Don’t try to say anything, he silently pleaded.
God’s sake, talk will ya? Just talk.” Max’s father slammed his fist against the
table, toppling Max’s plate onto the floor. Max lurched, dropping a fork-load
of mashed potatoes on his father’s sleeve.
you.” Max’s father backhanded him across the chest, knocking the wind from his
lungs. Max sucked in hard to bring the air back. His face wrinkled into a frown
and he was about to cry, but with a mouthful of potatoes, he knew he would
choke. So, he just sat rigid as a post, afraid to move, afraid to swallow,
afraid to do anything at all.
Mark Cosman’s writing began when his daughter, Berlyn, was murdered following her high school prom. It was when he left the rubble of his beliefs and assumptions to go in search of answers to the most profound questions we humans ask ourselves. His first book, “A Flower in the Snow” and later, “The Kids from the River” are the result of that odyssey.