Seventeen-year-old Banyan lives in a world without trees. In fact, he lives in a world without birds, animals or plants, as well, during a desolate time in the far future following the Darkness. He also lives in this world all alone. His mom starved when he was just a baby, and his dad disappeared a year ago and is probably long dead. Now he travels the desolate remains of the country, selling his craftsmanship to the rich. Banyan is an expert tree sculptor. Taught by his dad, Banyan digs through discarded scraps for metal, wires, glass and lighting to sculpt tree works of art. He earns enough food to survive and enough fuel to drive to his next job. He does take great pride in his work, yet it’s quite a bleak and lonely existence.
"Howard’s obvious love and respect of nature shines through his lead character, Banyan, encouraging readers to also appreciate trees for the beautiful treasure they are. This story has everything: thrills, important issues, romance, surprising twists, and loads of action."
Of course there are two exceptions to that zero plants/animals statement. First are the specially engineered corn crops produced by the mega firm GenTech Corporation. These corn crops feed what’s left of the population and fuel their cars, plus they are the only plants impervious to the ravenous locusts. These locusts, the second exception to the zero plant/animal statement, consumed every single edible plant life including the trees. So now, with nothing else to eat, the locusts have turned to feeding on human flesh.
Then one day, Banyan’s bleak world suddenly offers a spark of hope. His current tree building job introduces him to a band of people on a mission. A woman of this group has an intricate tattoo of a tree on her skin, a tattoo that maps a way to a paradise of real, living trees! Anyone who finds and claims this priceless treasure would rule the world. Banyan’s love of trees peaks his interest, but what really sets his mind to this race is the recent photo he’s given --- a photo of his father, very much alive, chained to these real trees! Banyan will discover adventure, danger, truth, love, loss and even real living trees on his unbelievable quest.
Chris Howard, introduces himself to the writing world with his intriguing debut novel, ROOTLESS. He skillfully tackles some of today’s tough environmental issues, weaving them into an exciting and captivating quest. Howard’s obvious love and respect of nature shines through his lead character, Banyan, encouraging readers to also appreciate trees for the beautiful treasure they are. This story has everything: thrills, important issues, romance, surprising twists, and loads of action. A bit of a warning for the younger or more sensitive of readers, this book does contain drug use, profanity and some gory violence, however nothing worse than a PG-13 movie. Chris Howard is definitely an author to keep an eye on, and his new fans will be thrilled to know he’s working on a sequel! Long live trees…and Chris Howard’s writing career!
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on November 27, 2012