Maryam, Ruth and Joseph have fled Onewere, accompanied by Joseph's troublesome cousin, Lazarus. They arrive at their destination, Marawa Island, filled with hope for rescue and reprieve. But the island appears to be solely populated by birds, and all that remains of its once sophisticated culture are crumbling buildings adorned with strange pagan carvings. Perhaps the Apostle's dire warnings about the fall-out of the Tribulation were true after all? Meanwhile, Maryam and Joseph are in the topsy-turvy grips of first love, filled with all the misunderstandings and sexual tension this entails. When Maryam flees from a passionate late-night encounter with Joseph he is left confused and stung. He sets off to scale the island's volcanic peak, exhausting what little physical reserves he has left, and it triggers a recurrence of the deadly plague Te Matee Iai. The antagonism between Maryam and Lazarus reaches explosive proportions with this additional strain. Meanwhile, Joseph's health deteriorates at such an alarming rate the other three, despite Ruth's resistance and apprehension, decide to venture onwards to seek a cure for Joseph's ills. What will become of them?
Mandy Hager is a Wellington author and educator. She won the Esther Glen Award for Fiction for her novel Smashed.