Synopses & Reviews
A rogue virus that kills pregnant women has been let loose in the world, and nothing less than the survival of the human race is at stake.
Some blame the scientists, others see the hand of God, and still others claim that human arrogance and destructiveness are reaping the punishment they deserve. Jessie Lamb is an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl living in extraordinary times. As her world collapses, her idealism and courage drive her toward the ultimate act of heroism. She wants her life to make a difference. But is Jessie heroic? Or is she, as her scientist father fears, impressionable, innocent, and incapable of understanding where her actions will lead?
Set in a world irreparably altered by an act of biological terrorism, The Testament of Jessie Lamb explores a young woman's struggle to become independent of her parents. As the certainties of her childhood are ripped apart, Jessie begins to question her parents' attitudes, their behavior, and the very world they have bequeathed her.
"In this unconvincing dystopian novel, Rogers (The Voyage Home) envisions a society undone by the Maternal Death Syndrome, popularly known as MDS. A cross between Mad Cow disease and AIDS created by mysterious bio-terrorists, the virus infects all people, but it kills pregnant women, calling the very survival of humanity into question. Coming of age in this terrible new world, 16-year-old Jessie Lamb must learn to navigate the complexities of adolescence while her world teeters on the brink of collapse. As Jessie and her friends attempt to deal with the disasters bequeathed them by their parents' generation, they must decide what matters to them, and what they want their world to look like. First seeking refuge in various environmental, feminist, and animal rights causes, Jessie eventually comes to understand that real change is only possible through action, and personal freedom exacts a fearsome toll. When her scientist father tells her about an experimental procedure that holds out hope for new births, everything Jessie believes about herself, her family, her life, and the lives of others is put to a terrifying test. Although the premise is initially intriguing, Jessie is too much a cipher for readers to care about her and her decision, which is all too predictable. Even as it gestures at big, topical issues, this dystopia is too slight to genuinely frighten. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The novel does not set up an elaborate apocalypse, but astringently strips away the smears hiding the apocalypses we really face. Like Jessies, it is a small, calm voice of reason in a nonsensical world.” The Independent
“Jane Rogers has captured Jessies voice brilliantly, alternating a teenagers solipsism with a growing awareness of the wider world. Jessies self-conviction is both admirable and infuriating, and the reader is torn between her clear, unequivocal conclusions and the intricate, heartfelt compromises of her parents.” Times Literary Supplement (London)
“A powerful dystopian novel…Long-listed for the Booker Prize, Rogers mesmerizing tale is frighteningly timely and bound to spark rich book-club discussions.” Booklist
“Thought-provoking, smart, real, disturbing, and well-written...A compelling page-turner of a novel.” Popmatters
“Echoes of Kazuo Ishiguros stealthy novel Never Let Me Go abound, but Rogers works with a more populist tool kit, nailing the tempestuous inner conflicts of a young woman as she discerns the full measure of selfishness required to be selfless.” New York Times Book Review
“Beautifully and convincingly written, Jessies testament for posterity is truly moving, haunting…a rich, heavy read, full of provocative questions…” Kirkus Reviews
In a chilling future, one 16-year-old girl is driven to the ultimate act of heroism. The Testament of Jessie Lamb
, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is the breakout novel from award-winning author Jane Rogers. Its cunningly drawn characters and riveting vision of a dystopic future fraught with difficult moral choices will make The Testament of Jessie Lamb
an instant favorite for fans of Kazuo Ishiguros Never Let Me Go
, Margaret Atwoods The Handmaids Tale
, Suzanne Collinss The Hunger Games
, and Brian K. Vaughans Y: The Last Man
“The novel does not set up an elaborate apocalypse, but astringently strips away the smears hiding the apocalypses we really face. Like Jessies, it is a small, calm voice of reason in a nonsensical world.” —The Independent
About the Author
JANE ROGERS has written eight novels, including Her Living Image (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Mr. Wroe’s Virgins (a Guardian Fiction Prize runner-up), Promised Lands (winner of the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fiction Book), Island (longlisted for the Orange Prize) and The Voyage Home. She has written drama for radio and TV, including an award-winning adaptation of Mr. Wroe’s Virgins for BBC2. She has taught writing at the University of Adelaide, at Paris Sorbonne IV and on a radio-writing project in eastern Uganda. She is professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Jane lives on the edge of the moors in Lancashire, England. Visit her online at <>janerogers.org.