The year is 2060. Australian Lieutenant General John Arnheim and his elite soldiers lie hidden behind tangled roots and broad ferns.They are in the enemy’s domain, pursued by advanced bloodhounds that can detect scents with concentrations down to a single molecule.
John Arnhem has built his career and his life on the war. But the horizons darken. The war and everything he has believed in is changing.
A world-changing war has lasted for 17 years. At the heart of the defence effort is Arnhem’s special unit, The Queens Hunters. The victory he once thought he would experience seems more distant than ever.
Only a small city in the nortwest is still managing to hold their grounds against the enemy. And at the same time he realizes that the price he himself pays is about to become too high.
During a journey back to base their plane crashes over Australia’s north-west coast. For the four survivors, a long and dangerous trek through Australia’s wastelands awaits. Not only is nature a threat, the area is also haunted by enemy “creeps”, small roaming self-operating robots.
Amidst the unrelenting brutality of war, nature endures – full of suffering, but also vitality. While humans manoeuvre towards their own demise, the wild horses do as they’ve always done: follow the herd and instinct, doing what they can to survive.
It takes mental strength to read Tore Kvæven’s dystopian science fiction novel, Red Dust. Because in 2023 we live in a dangerously tense time. Bloody wars are taking place in countries not far from us, and I, like many others, am worried about world peace. Kvæven’s novel does not remedy the unrest, to put it mildly.
Let it be clear: Tore Kvæven is a genuine author who possesses a poetic and energetic Nynorsk as a significant instrument. In addition to his extensive research and thoroughness regarding details.
The novel has elements of both science fiction, dystopia, and war thriller, and although Kvæven evidently shares the linguistic and soul-searching ambitions of narrower quality literature, he can write genuinely exciting action scenes: here, skirmishes with killer robots alternate with plane crashes after rocket attacks and close combat with a crocodile, interspersed with lyrical animal descriptions, flashbacks to a pastoral past, and contemplative reflections on the tremors of military life.
An exceptionally imagery-rich and beautiful novel.