Chris Fitzgerald is used to bad news. As a war reporter, it sometimes seems like all he knows. But now that the biggest story of his career has arrived, it involves a twist even he could not have expected; he’s being sent home. California has finally run out of water.
The Golden State has been in a slow-motion crisis for decades, with powerful interest groups appropriating more and more water from Northern California to cover shortfalls in the South. When a militia group assassinates the mayor of San Francisco in protest and shuts down the Golden Gate Bridge, Chris is recalled from overseas to cover the ensuing unrest. He and his photographer, Luis Álvarez, fly into the city, following leads from the Tenderloin to Russian Hill while trying to locate the militia’s leader.
As the conflict develops, both men are forced to grapple with what they believe about the ultimate value of their work, and the complicated reasons each has for continually seeking danger. On top of normal combat stress, Chris must navigate an increasingly tenuous relationship with his no-nonsense editor, Mallory O’Brien.
Overtaken by events, the three journalists soon find themselves hurtling towards a reckoning which will prove whether the nation, and their own fraught identities, can hold together. Spanning continents and cultures, Strike the Waters is a moving literary portrait of human beings forced into the crucible of violent conflict, and an all-too-plausible glimpse into our collective future.
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