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The Chrysalids

John Wyndham

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 4 March 2012
Only the image of God is man, keep pure the stock of the lord. Blessed is the norm in purity. Our salvation. Watch thou for the mutant! The norm is the will of God, reproduction is the only holy production, the devil is the father of deviation.

Disaster has left the world in a dark age, the planet is savage and devastated by mutation. Society is primitive and in the town Waknuk, conservative. They live fearing the mutant and the everlasting witch hunt for any deviation from the 'norm' continues.

The evangelical elders strictly and vigilantly seek out and destroy any one who shows differences to the human 'norm' as depicted in their bible. When a group of young children discover they are able to share images with each other through their minds they can only hide it so long and our protagonist David must run.

Guided by a distant voice, the characters make their way through a savage forest trying to reach the city of dreams which we discover is in New Zealand. The book is a strong statement about the futility of fundamentalism; ultimately the old will perish, the young will grow, the progressive will adapt to change and grow superior as a result, the alienated - 'the norm'. The concept of using New Zealand, a country know for it progressive policies for the place the mutants ultimately will find sanctuary, was surely not coincidental.

A highly readable, enjoyable book with enough pace, action and intrigue to have the reader steadily flipping pages. It remains highly important and timely.