Fifteen year-old Luca has grown up with a heavy burden of responsibility on his shoulders. In a world plagued by drought, only his father has the knowledge and ability to journey deep underground and negotiate with the fearsome people known as water rats for another year’s supply of water to be pumped up to earth’s surface. Luca painstakingly memorizes his father’s instructions to navigate the caves below, for one day it will fall to him to make that lonely, life-preserving journey as the Deliverer.
Life on the earth’s surface is carefully monitored and controlled by the Council of Nine and their representatives, called Amongus, who sniff out any dissenters or citizens who cannot master their emotions. Those who cannot obey the law are “undone,” taken out to the middle of the ocean and drowned.
As the day approaches for Luca’s father to make the long journey into the dark, Luca discovers a hidden treasure, one the Amongus would surley destroy. Luca’s father begins his trek to negotiate for water before Luca has a chance to show his father the secret treasure. When his father does not return at the scheduled time, Luca’s world is thrown into chaos. Suddenly he is the new Deliverer and he does not have his father to guide him any longer. But it seems the Amongus have other plans for Lucas and the future water supply, and Luca must move quickly if he is to escape entanglement in their deadly traps. In order to flee, Luca must embrace a faith which doesn’t make sense to him, and dare to behold a world beyond the one the Amongus have confined him in. One in which water rats are not twisted monsters and beauty is not a thing to be feared.
In this novel Friesen brings powerful prose to a story that is sort of Waterworld meets The Giver. Aquifer allows readers to experience a raw longing and searching for faith and universal truth. At every turn, Luca experiences the struggle to sort allies from enemies, and as chaos and desperation bring out both the best and worst in those around him, discerning friend from foe is no easy task. Over all this is a really enjoyable story with a lot of suspense and a little bit of romance. Fans of dystopian fiction will find this one a worthy addition to their reading lists.
A few brief kisses.
Religion is outlawed, but some citizens (referred to as Wishers) secretly pray to a Creator and believe they hear guidance and direction from him.
Brief battle scenes between Amongus enforcers and Luca and his supporters.