To read or not to read?

This is a cautionary tale,  a parable and a  literary tale. Part science fiction and  part speculative fiction. It touches on  science, religion, the environment, love, desire, cannibalism and war. It is the second of a trilogy of books, but you don't need to read the first book before this one. The first two books can be read out of order, as they are more companion books,  with this second book  covering the same time period and overlapping in plot.  

Read the opening paragraphs of this extraordinary novel and you decide whether to read or not to read the rest of the book!

In the early morning Toby climbs up to the rooftop to watch the sunrise. She uses a mop handle for balance: the elevator stopped working some time ago and the back stairs are slick with damp, so if she slips and topples there won't be anyone to pick her up.
As the first heat hits, mist rises from among the swathe of trees between her and the derelict city. The air smells faintly of burning, a smell of caramel and tar and rancid barbecues, and the ashy but greasy smell of a garbage-dump fire after it's been raining. The abandoned towers in the distance are like the coral of an ancient reef-bleached and colourless, devoid of life.
There still is life, however. Birds chirp; sparrows, they must be. Their small voices are clear and sharp, nails on glass: there's no longer any sound of traffic to drown them out. Do they notice that quietness, the absence of motors? If so, are they happier? Toby has no idea. Unlike some of the other Gardeners-the more wild-eyed or possibly overdosed ones-she has never been under the illusion that she can converse with birds.
The sun brightens in the east, reddening the blue-grey haze that marks the distant ocean. The vultures roosting on hydro poles fan out their wings to dry them, opening themselves like black umbrellas. One and then another lifts off on the thermals and spirals upwards. If they plummet suddenly, it means they've spotted carrion.
Vultures are our friends, the Gardeners used to teach. They purify the earth. They are God's necessary dark Angels of bodily dissolution. Imagine how terrible it would be if there were no death!
Do I still believe this? Toby wonders.
Everything is different up close.

To keep reading this book, request it from the Library. Listen to the audiobook to hear the hymns...