A novel of haunting beauty and ominous suspense, The Second History is a post-apocalyptic love story about a young couple embarking on a journey to understand, for the first time, what they've been hiding from all their lives.
Born in a barren, altered future world, Eban has lived in hiding all his life without ever understanding why. After his mother's death, he retreated into the northern Appalachians with Judy, the only other woman he has ever known.
But as the years passed and Judy suffered multiple miscarriages, she began to wonder what happened to the cities their parents fled, where a strange sickness is said to have spread among those who stayed behind. To stop the headstrong woman he loves from leaving the safety of the hills to travel to the cities, Eban convinces Judy instead to set out on a journey to the fabled colony of the original mountain settlers, where he promises her they'll find the answers she seeks.
Now expecting a child once again, Judy and Eban begin their climb deep into the mountains. Along the way, the people they encounter and the secrets they uncover will threaten their lives and the ties between them, further complicating what they know of the world beyond the mountains and of each other.
Set in a far-flung time and place that begin to feel increasingly familiar, The Second History explores the devastating effects of environmental catastrophe on human relationships. It is a story about the limits of our ability to know each other or understand the past . . . and about the courage it takes to invent the world again for those we love.
REBECCA SILVER SLAYTER is the author of In the Land of Birdfishes, which was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Named one of CBC's Ten Writers to Watch, Rebecca is the director of the Cabot Trail Writers Festival and an editor of Brick, A Literary Journal. She lives in Nova Scotia.
"Silver Slayters examination of how humans carry on through apocalyptic hardship is complicated, contradictory, urgent with warning—but the turn at the end, a small readjustment that changes every understanding, gives a prickling, green-shoot feeling of that thing in short supply these days, hope." —Marina Endicott
"The Second History brings the lovers Eban and Judy to life with such deep wisdom and exacting detail that they will last forever. This novel is about risks in desperate times, the paralyzing power fear, and the struggle for freedom. But mostly it's about love, one of the most honest renderings of romantic love I've ever read. It's about how we pull each other through. Here is a truly mesmeric story, tender, unflinching, quakingly good." —Lisa Moore
"The Second History takes place in a post-post-Apocalyptic world where cities, and even communities, are fabled things of the distant past. It follows a young couple wandering through the frozen wilderness in search of a colony of humans, a haven they think is called Heaven. On the way, they survive unimaginable human and natural predations only to arrive in a place no rumour could ever have conjured. In this harrowing novel of human resilience, Rebecca Silver Slayter creates a world of dread and beauty so convincing it feels like it might be about tomorrow. Gorgeously written and packed with unforgettable scenes, The Second History is a towering achievement." —Michael Redhill
"Told in luminous, propulsive prose, The Second History is a unique love story that looks ahead to find its way home. A balancing act of grace and suspense." —Iain Reid