The Savage Boy tells the story of one man’s struggle to survive in a fallen world, forty years after a nuclear war left America in ruins.
Through the story, the Boy, a nomadic ‘savage,’ recalls the wisdom of Sgt. Presley, Boy’s mentor who trained him how to survive in a dark world. Presley’s ever-present voice guides Boy as he attempts to ‘not get involved’ in the affairs of others. Going against his mentor’s advice, Boy does get involved and pays a price for that involvement.
I will not elaborate much on what happens, but in this book we get to see a larger portion of the post-apocalyptic world Cole creates, including those responsible for America’s downfall. Like the Old Man in Wasteland, Cole develops the Boy character to great depth with skill. Even more, he creates a rounded character of Sgt. Presley through Boy’s memories of him.
If you’ve read The Old Man and the Wasteland (my review here), then you are familiar with Cole’s writing style. He isn’t pretentious but has a story to tell, and tells it well. He takes Boy through high and lows, up and downs, and the reader benefits from the experience.
The Savage Boy contains considerably more violence (human fighting and descriptions) than Wasteland.