The knife of never letting go

Imagine living in a world where people's thoughts were broadcasted aloud for all to hear.

Young Todd Hewitt was born into a world where everyone can hear eneryone else's thoughts. He and the men of Prentisstown hear them constantly, due to a strange virus that killed all the women and made the thoughts of all other living creatures on the planet audible in a maddening, airborne cacophony.

This virus was supposedly released by the enemy in a brutal war fought many years ago between Todd's people, the settlers, and the native inhabitants of the planet.

A deafening silence

Within this constant chatter of intermingled thoughts, which is called "the Noise", young Todd unexpectedly discovers a pocket of absolute silence out in the swamplands that encircle the town.

Todd's discovery is alarming and he begins to realize that nothing he has been told about the world is true.

Pursued by fanatics

What he has uncovered has also put him in extreme danger and he is forced to flee from his home through the wilderness, hunted every step of the way by the fanatical men of Prentisstown.

Todd has made some dangerous enemies. The cruel, power-mad mayor Prentiss, and Aaron, the religiously insane town preacher, will stop at nothing to get their hands on the secret Todd has discovered.

But where can you hide when everybody can hear your thoughts?

Patrick Ness has written a very inventive and different kind of science fiction story wherein he deftly incorporates many themes that reflect our modern day society: information overload, religious fanaticism, and war and propaganda are all underlying themes in this story. But it is also a coming of age story about adolescent discovery and painful realizations and choices.

The knife of never letting go keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Patrick Ness was awarded the 2008 Guardian children's fiction prize for The knife of never letting go. It is the first book in the "Chaos walking" series.

The titles of Chaos walking part two and three are The Ask and the answer and Monsters of men

The knife of never letting go has recently been translated into Swedish: Tystnaden i bruset