Summary: Todd is one month away from the birthday that will make him a man in Prentisstown. While searching for apples in the local swamp, he stumbles upon a patch of silence in the Noise. The Noise is everywhere, there cannot be patches. Thoughts stream endlessly from men and there is no stopping it. When Todd goes back to the farm, his caregivers panic and he must be sent away. A plot is unraveling and Todd is a key, he must be kept safe and he must take the silence, a girl, with him.
As Todd, his dog Manchee and the girl escape from Prentisstown they face many obstacles. Not only are men from Prentisstown coming after them, but the New World hates and fears anyone from Prentisstown. Todd has had a sheltered life is Prentisstown. He doesn’t know the truth about the rest of the world or the bloody history of Prentisstown and what it truly means to “become a man”. The plot is rife with intense action and flight scenes.
As Ness masterly creates the world in Book One of the Chaos Walking series, we find that Todd is ignorant and refuses to believe that he was lied to. To complicate matters he can’t correctly read and the map from Ben contains a warning to all of the world. Todd only had Ben and Cillian to call family and he was forced to leave them behind which makes him reluctant to trust Viola. They face close calls with death and capture forcing them to rely on each other. As their captors close in, they form a true partnership and begin to trust in each other.
The story is about hope and the lengths people will go for the promise of something better. Todd and Viola are battered with trial after trial, and their bodies face starvation, fighting enemies and navigating on miniscule sleep and food. They are weary and beaten down at the very least, but they keep going. The two are separated a couple times, but they fight to get the other back each time. Their determination in the face of almost certain failure is inspiring and audacious.