If The Light Escapes
will be published by SFK Press
on August 24, 2021
A sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US
The northern lights started two weeks ago in Texas—three thousand miles closer to the equator than where they belong—and there’s no freaking rest in this apocalypse for eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.
Fourteen months back, a solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid and took the cars, phones, and running water down with it. Keno’s still reeling after his pregnant sister died from a tragic accident, and his mother blames him. Water is scarce, his beloved Nana is ill, his Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and their lives depend on farming their Austin subdivision in a drought.
Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who shares similar sorrows, but then he gets her pregnant and vows to keep her alive if he has to die to do it. Yet desperate outsiders and Nature itself seem to be conspiring against him.
Despite his growing dread, Keno rallies his broken family and his neighbors to drive off starving thieves and more sinister intruders. He must wrestle with his conscience to defend his loved ones from an existential threat looming too close to home. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.
IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.
"Gritty and powerful, If the Light Escapes takes the reader on an emotionally charged and adrenalin-fueled journey that lingers long after the last page is read."
Mae Clair, Author of the Point Pleasant Series and the Hodes Hill Series
“Brenda Marie Smith stuns again with the breathtaking sequel to her debut. Dark and intense, IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES explores one young man's coming-of-age against the aftermath of a devastating electromagnetic pulse. With her skill for detail and character, Smith captivates us with Keno's kindness and humanity, while also exploring the capacity for violence that lurks within all of us. This book held me until the last page and lingered with me afterwards.”
Aden Polydoros, Author of The City Beautiful
“In this sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US, teenager Keno inherits the mantle of leadership when his beloved Grandma Bea has a stroke. As Keno falls in love and tries to start a normal family life in the post-electromagnetic pulse apocalypse, things turn from bad to worse, culminating in a violent showdown that threatens to forever destroy the peaceful farming community Bea helped to build. IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is a rich coming-of-age story about the legacy of family, infused with hopefulness and humanity.”
Laura Creedle, Author of The Love Letters of Abelard & Lily