Ten Years to Go
Nine Years to Go
Eight Years to Go
Six Years to Go
Five Years to Go
Can’t Be More Than Seven Months Left
Here it Comes
The book opens with a series of letters setting up the conceit of the novel, which is that “The Power” is a work of narrative non-fiction written by an author named Neil Adam Armon.
It then opens with an epigraph from a religious text, the Book of Eve, 13–17, describing a type of power, electrical in nature, and it discusses using that power to promote change.
Ten Years to Go
Roxanne “Roxy” Monke, a 14-year-old girl, is at home with her mother when two men she doesn’t recognize, “Tall Man” and “Short Man” (Tony), kick down their door. The two men are here to “deliver a message” to Roxy’s father, Bernie Monk, by hurting her mother. Roxy has heard the things people have said about her father before, that he’s a crook, etc. They try to lock Roxy in a cupboard, but Roxy knows how to get out. She bashes the door open, knocking over the Tall Man, and emerges to see that the Short Man has a knife to her mother’s neck.
Her mother urges her to run away. However, Roxy suddenly realizes that she has a power within her. She’s able to release an electrical jolt of energy with a twist from her hands that singes the Short Man, damaging one of his hand.
She tries to do it again, but is unable to. Instead, the men knock her unconscious. When Roxy awakes, she sees her mother’s limp body on the sofa. On her chest is a piece of paper with a “felt-tip drawing of a primrose”.
Roxy turns out to be one of the youngest and first to discover the power.
In Lagos, Olatunde “Tunde” Edo, a 21-year-old guy, is doing laps in the pool in hopes that Enuma, a 17-year-old girl, will notice him. Enuma is visiting from Ibadan, and they’re with a group of friends who are sharing a summer house together. Tunde has been trying to pursue her without much success, so he made an excuse to end up alone at the house with her today.
When she gets up to get a Coke, he asks her for it and playfully wrestles with her when she refuses. When he grabs at her waist, she puts her hand to his and he feels a mild but unpleasant stinging sensation in his hand and forearm, causing him to release her. She then giggles, kisses him softly and runs off into the pool. He has no idea what happened or if it was something she did, but he leaves her alone after that.
A few months later, Tunde is shopping with his friend Isaac when he sees an altercation between a teenaged girl and an older man. The girl tells the man to get away but he refuses, and Tunde senses something is about to happen. He starts recording the two of them. As the man continues to bother the girl, she reaches for his arm with her hand and zap him with electricity. The man falls over, choking, and she runs away. Tunde watches the man thrash on the ground, and he realizes that Enuma could’ve killed him that day if she’d wanted to.
Tunde ends up posting his video online, kicking off people’s awareness of what comes to be known as the Day of the Girls (when girls all around the world started realizing they had these powers).
Meanwhile, more videos are getting posted online of women and girls sprouting electricity from their hands. Margot Cleary, the city mayor, discusses with Daniel Dandon, the state governor, whether or not they’re fake and whether or not the schools should shut down for the day. She reluctantly agrees to shut down the schools.
As reports of these injuries increase, she follows the news. Scientists from the CDC initially insist that this isn’t what people think, and the news desks don’t take it seriously. Then, some scientists from Delhi discover biological evidence (“strip of striated muscle across the girls’ collarbones”) of where this is coming from. Meanwhile, various schools separate out the boys and the girls to try to manage the situation. It appears that the power seems to be primarily afflicting girls around 15 years of age.
Then Margot hears from her ex-husband, Bobby, that their daughter Jocelyn has been caught fighting with a boy and injuring him. Jocelyn tells Margot that she’s had this power now for six months. Margot asks Jocelyn to show her, even though Jocelyn warns it will hurt.
She does, and Margot feels a jolt of pain that seems to spread throughout her body. She recalls a recent report from the CDC saying that these electrical jolts target the pain centers of the brain, making it hurt even more. Then, she feels something in her collarbone, and afterwards Margot knows she has the power, too, and “she remembers that maybe she has always known it and it has always belonged to her”.
Allie Montgomery-Taylor is a 16-year-old mixed-race girl who lives in Jacksonville, Alabama. Her adoptive parents took her in out of “Christian charity”. Her adoptive father owns number of meat-packing and meat-producing factories around the area. Her adopted mother, Mrs. Montgomery-Taylor, is a religious woman, fond of giving speeches full of fire and brimstone.
Allie has recently realized that she has the power and has been practicing how to use it. In her mind, she hears a voice — which she tells herself is the voice of her deceased mother, Annabeth MacDuff — urging her on. Today, she’s with two boys, Hunter and Kyle, in the graveyard where her mother’s tombstone is. They start to fondle her, as she sometimes lets them do. However, she’s not in the mood, and she zaps them lightly instead. They get mad at her from bringing them out there and zapping them, and they unhappily trudge off.
When Allie sneaks back into the house, Mr. Clyde Montgomery-Taylor immediately smacks her back-handed across the face, calling her a “whore” for being out with the boys. He the proceeds to rape her, as he has many times before. Allie knows that Mrs. Montgomery-Taylor knows what goes on and that she ignores it.
Within her, Allie knows today is the day to fight back. She jolts him, and he collapses, but is still alive. She then places her hand on his heart and does it again. A voice in her head then tells her to take the little crucifix hanging on the wall with her as she leaves.
Nine Years to Go
(Three illustrations depict women with their palms open, described as images of the “Holy Mother” that are around 500 years old.)
The night of Mr. Montgomery-Taylor’s death, Mrs. Montgomery-Taylor had discovered the body and then proceeded to the police station to report Allie. However, that night the calls had started pouring into police stations all over with reports about girls using their powers, and they were too overwhelmed to chase Allie down.
For the next 82 days, Allie hitchhikes north. At first she has no problem getting rides, but soon cars avoid her, seemingly out of fear of what powers she might possess. The voice in her head encourages her to keep moving forward. As the travels, Allie thinks about her bad and progressively worse caregivers, starting with someone she was instructed to refer to as Aunt Rose and ending with Mrs. Montgomery-Taylor.
In the next town she goes to, she sneaks into the aquarium and looks at the tank full of electric eels. She reads up on how they use their power to interfere with the signals in the brain, causing other fish to swim into their mouths. Allie thinks about how she’d like to learn to control her skill like that as well, and the voice in her head propels her to keep travelling forward.
Allie soon comes across the Sisters of Mercy Convent, a convent located next to the ocean. There, the women are delighted to find the crucifix in her bag. They take her in, and they offer her a warm bed and food. Soon, other girls arrive, in need of shelter and counsel. The sister there soon put up bunk bed in their previously empty rooms, start scheduling classes and starts handing out chores to be done. Meanwhile, at the convent, the displaced girls share their stories. When the girls ask Allie about herself, she lies. She tells them that her name is Eve and that her family left her because they were afraid she’d hurt her brothers.
While the girls test out their skills on one another, Allie is more subtle on it, trying to practice on people without them knowing it. She thinks about what the eels are capable of and tries to replicate those skills, giving girls small headaches or a leg cramp. They don’t know it’s her, and when a group of girls gets ready to depart the convent, they invite Allie along, but she declines.
Allie finds that she’s happy at the convent. She asks the nun with darker-colored skin, like hers, whether she could stay here forever. Sister Maria Ignacia tells her that she would have to become a nun if she wants to stay her whole life. Allie is hurt by this response, thinking about how no one ever wants her to stay.
One day, Allie overhears the nuns arguing about whether the girls’ powers. Sister Veronica believes they could only be from the Devil and wants to kick them out. As she hears this, the voice in Allie’s head tells her that the world needs a “prophet” and that if she wants to stay at the convent, then she needs to own it.
After her mother’s murder, Roxy’s father is determined to exact revenge on Primrose, the person who ordered the hit. He tells this to Roxy’s half-brothers — Ricky (the oldest), Terry (the middle one) and Darrell (the youngest) — all of whom are the sons of Bernie’s wife. Roxy is the odd one out.
However, Primrose is dangerous, and they need to be ready for him. Bernie asks to see what Roxy can do, and she shows them her power. Soon, he finds other friends with daughters around her age that Roxy can practice with and teach, so they have more firepower. They discover that Roxy is the strongest of all of them.
Just before, Ricky offers Roxy some cocaine to clear her head before the confrontation. The plan was to lure Primrose to a warehouse with the help of Weinstein, a guy they thought sold him out. Instead, Primrose shows up with a bunch more guys than they’d anticipated. She sees Primrose kill Terry.
Angry and afraid, Roxy feels the electricity in her hand as she lights up an iron walkway, causing three of Primrose’s men to go down. When two guys try to grab her, she takes them both down with just a touch. Then, when Primrose tries to get away, Roxy chases after him. As she zaps Primrose, he pleads with her, saying that Bernie came after him first. Roxy kills him.
After Tunde puts his video online, he gets a call from CNN offering to buy the video. He asks for $5,000 and they immediately agree. After that, he goes around looking for more footage, and CNN buys it off of him. He soon tells his mother that he’s going to take some time off of school.
Needing more and better footage, Tunde travels to Riyadh, where two 12-year-old girls had been killed after being found practicing their powers together. An uncle had gathered his friends to punish them, and they were killed. The night of Tunde’s arrival was the first “great riot” as hundreds of women fought back. Carrying his camera, he found a group of women headed to the riot and told them that he was harmless and there representing CNN. One of the women, Noor, instructs him to strip to show that he doesn’t have any weapons, and then they permit him to travel with them.
As they walk, Noor talks about how women aren’t permitted to drive in their country. She then touches a car and uses her powers to rev up the engine as she encourages Tunde to film it as it explodes. When Noor passes by an old woman, she touches her hand to the old woman’s and shows her how to awaken her powers. Tunde is able to see how the power can be passed and awoken from the young women to the older women.
That night, Noor leads Tunde into an apartment and sleeps with him. The riots continue. 12 days later, Tunde is on his way out of Riyadh, the government has fallen and the King is dead.
With news around the world of riots and women taking over entire cities, Margot and Daniel are in a conference room with about 20 other people to discuss what needs to be done. Daniel is concerned about the dangers of having women as governmental employees who have this power, and he wants all the women to be tested in case they’re hiding their powers.
At home, Margot tells Jocelyn not to tell anyone about her powers, including Jocelyn’s father or her sister Maddy. When Jocelyn stays with Margot one weekend by herself, the two practice their powers together. Jocelyn has been frustrated by her power levels fluctuating and wants to learn to control it. Meanwhile, Margot needs to learn to keep it under control for the purposes of the testing.
Soon, Margot is called in for the “state-wide mandatory testing for the presence of a skein, or the electrostatic power”, which is a requirement for government employment. Daniel has determined that positions involving contact with children or the public are not suitable for those with the power. The test works by triggering “her autonomic nervous function with a series of low-level electrical impulses” and the skein will eventually automatically respond with a jolt.
As the woman runs the test, Margot can feel her body wanting to respond. The machine does ten impulses and Margot watches as she tests negative for each one. She walks away, relieved.
Later, Margot meets with Daniel and Arnold, Daniel’s budget guy. She thinks about how easily she could kill both of them right here in this conference room, and she thinks about how she has “big plans”.
Eight Years to Go
(An illustration depicts a glove that’s dated to be around 1,000 years old that’s designed to conduct electricity from the hands.)
A 14-year-old girl named Luanne has arrived at the convent three months ago who has been unwell since her powers awoke. When she gets scared or exited, she starts to convulse. Tonight, there is a lightning storm, followed by an altercation that sets off her convulsions. With tensions running high, Allie offers to try to heal her, though others are dubious that she can.
As they all watch, Allie reaches out to Luanne and uses her power to target the areas in her that she senses are blocked off. Luanne is instantly better, and Allie has performed her first miracle.
Soon, they start bringing Allie other girls in need of healing. Allie is able to be precise enough with her powers to send a “needle” of electricity to the exact spot to relieve headaches and other types of pain. Savannah, one the the girls there, comments that Allie has the power to heal, just “like we read in Scripture”.
Allie instructs the girls to go to the ocean with her at dawn one morning, saying that it’s what She (the Holy Mother) wants. As they gather in a circle in the water, Allie calls upon the Holy Mother to baptize them, and then she uses her power to bring the girls to their knees. When they return, they all talk about the miracle the experienced together. The ten girls she brought out there soon become leaders among the other five dozen girls at the convent.
Allie/Eve tells the girls that God is both a man and a woman, but she refers to Her as a She because it’s they side of her face that they’ve “ignored for too long”. She also instructs them to refer to God as “Mother”. The girls then ask who Allie/Eve is in all of this, and she says that she is simply a “messenger of the Mother”. The girls start referring to her as “Mother Eve”.
The nuns at the convent argue about how concerned they should be about the current situation and whether it is heresy. Sister Veronica believes they should lock all the girls in their rooms and burn them to death. One of the girls overhears this and reports back to Allie. By the next morning, Sister Veronica has died of what appears to be a heart attack, and she’s found in a prayer position in the chapel. The figure on the cross in the chapel now appears to be carved with etched fern-like lines, and it it deemed to be another miracle.
More girls want to be baptized under the Holy Mother, and the girls begin to take over the convent, shooting jolts at nuns who attempt to stop them. That night, Allie/Eve addresses her congregation as the girls record her message to be spread online. She dictates that now women shall rule “over man as Mary guided her infant son, with kindness and with love”. In Jacksonville, someone watches her speech and recognizes her.
Elsewhere, Margot goes on a morning television show with her daughter Jocelyn to discuss the use of powers. They bring up how Jocelyn ended up hurting a boy, Laurie Vincens, after she realized she had her powers. Jocelyn attributes this happening to her lack of control over her powers at the time.
Margot then advocates for creating safe spaces where girls can learn to use and, crucially, to control their powers. She recommends finding girls who have good control to help teach the other ones. Then, she says that they can have a zero-tolerance policy for usage of powers outside of these zones.
One of the interviewers, Tom, sounds skeptical and fearful of this suggestion, but Margot says she thinks it’ll be safer if the girls know to control their powers, especially since there appears to be no cure so far.
Back at the office, Daniel is horrified at Margot’s suggestion on TV. But by the end of the week, Margot has received around a million and a half dollars in donations for her to start her training camps, and before long she’s located a few possible venues like shut-down schools with large gymnasiums.
After a few months, there start to be suggestions that perhaps Margot Cleary should be running for a higher office.
In rural Moldova, a 13-year-old girl, the daughter of the man who drives the bread truck, brings stale bread to women locked in a basement. These women are sex-trafficking victims who are being confined there to work against their will.
Today, the 13-year-old girl awakens the power in one of the women who marvel at it, and the power is passed along to each of the other women. When one of the guards come for one of the women, they attack him, unshackle themselves, kill every man in the house and hunger for more.
Tunde goes to Moldova because it is the sex-trafficking capital of the world, and he files reports as he interviews people in these border towns that have seen intense fighting. The women trust him because he shows them the reporting he has done already, and he lets the women tell their stories. He starts working a book.
Five days before the government falls, Tunde interviews the Moldovan president, Viktor Moskalev. However, Moskalev is non-chalant about the fighting, saying that he’ll bomb the whole country if he needs to in order to “quash these rebels”. Afterwards, Moskalev’s wife, Tatiana Moskalev, seem to want to talk to Tunde. She shows him that she has the power, too. She also tells him that Awadi-Atif, the exiled King of Saudi Arabia, has been supplying Viktor with arms and money.
Five days after that interview, Viktor Moskalev dies of what appears to be a heart attack in his sleep (something that could be accomplished with a skillful electrical attack). Tatiana is appointed as interim leader. In her first public appearance afterwards, she wears a brooch with an eye symbol, which was a nod to the power of the “Goddess”.
In response, there is a military coup which ousts the interim government. Shortly thereafter, Tatiana and a small army move into a castle near the border of Moldova, and they establish the country of Bessapara.
After the killing of Primrose, they kill off the rest of the gang. Then, Bernie gets Roxy out of the country since he knows they’re trying to track her down. They ask Roxy where she wants to go, and Roxy says she wants to find Mother Eve in South Carolina who she’s heard about through videos online.
Roxy makes her way to the convent where she shows off the strength of her power by boiling the water in the ocean. At the convent, the others tell Allie/Eve about her. Allie comes down to talk to Roxy, and Allie is surprised to learn that she has a British accent. Allie also senses how powerful Roxy is and remembers how the voice inside her had told her that “a soldier will come.”
Roxy talks about how she thinks these powers are going to change everything, and she came to Allie since it looks like she wants to be a part of that change. Roxy still thinks there’s a place for men and a role for them to play, but Allie sees things a little differently. Still, Allie invites Roxy in knowing that Roxy might be one of the strongest she’s encountered.
They get to the convent just as dinner is being served, and Roxy is welcomed warmly by the girls. Mother Eve recites scripture, picking and choosing the parts that she likes. She tells the story of Ruth and explains that it’s a story about friendship and loyalty.
Later, Allie and Roxy talk. Allie says that people keep trying to give them money, but she has no bank account and implies that she’s unable to set one up. Roxy offers to help her out.
At 7 AM the next morning, a man show up named Einar, who Roxy knows from before. He has with him a new laptop as well as seven sets of passports, social security cards and drivers licenses for Allie/Eve. Einar warns not to make deposits over 100K into the account for the first six weeks without clearing it him first since there are security measures placed on the accounts initially.
As the days pass, Allie notices that the voices in head have quieted down with Roxy here, and she tells Roxy about growing up in a group home. As they talk, they both admit to having killed someone. Roxy tells Allie about how one time she had a piano teacher who molested her, and she told her father who beat the guy up and partially castrated him.
When a group of 12 officers show up to take them down, Allie uses her powers to get them to drop their guns, and Roxy uses her powers to cause them to all collapse. They record the interaction, and Allie records a message to go with the video, beckoning any women and girls of any race or religion to join them.
The humiliation of the police force at the convent causes them to be become even more militant elsewhere. Soon, a 12-year-old girl named Mez shows up one day saying that she was hassled by officers when she and her mother were walking back from the grocery store. When her mother told them to leave her alone, seven officers beat her mother up severely and took her to the police station instead of to a hosptial. Hearing the story, Allie and Roxy are both determined to go to the station and rescue Mez’s mother, Rachel Latif.
They bring everyone at the convent, and sixty of them in total head to the police station, with additional women planning to join them. There, Allie demands that they release Rachel — who is barely conscious with her head cracked open — and let her go to a hospital. Seeing that they are overpowered, the officers release Rachel to a hospital nearby.
Eventually, Allie’s organization outgrows the convent, needing a larger facility and outposts of the convent are springing up everywhere. By now, Allie truly believes she has been sent by God and that it’s her duty to deliver Her message. Meanwhile, Roxy tells Allie that it’s time to go home because she misses her family. Allie insists that Roxy can’t trust men, but Roxy disagrees.
Six Years to Go
(An illustration depict a device for used for training electrostatic powers, approximately 1500 years old.)
(Additionally, this section includes excerpts from “archival documents” about “electrostatic power, its origin, dispersal, and the possibility of a cure”. It traces the origin of the power to a nerve-strengthening compound nicknamed “Guardian Angel” that was laced into the drinking water supply in order to combat nerve gas. The buildup of it in the body is believed to be what has triggered development of electrostatic power in women. It’s theorized that the skein itself has always been a present, but that the Guardian Angel compound amplified it. The documents also discuss how there appears to be no cure. )
With a tip from Tatiana, Tunde travels to Northern Moldova where he’s able to track down a compound where Awadi-Atif is training some men with electrostatic weapons on behalf of the Moldovan Defence Forces.
Next, Tunde goes to Delhi. In Delhi, there have been riots and the women refer to the power as coming from “Kali”. When the women started using electrified jets of water to attack the military forces, they cut off the water supply. But then a rainstorm came, and the women wiped out their forces. Now, the women walk in the streets in areas where they previously were unable to go alone.
By now, Tunde is known among foreign journalists, and he has started his own YouTube channel where he broadcasts his footage.
However, today he ends up in an area where violence is brewing and he realizes he does not recognize any familiar faces in the crowd. He climbs up on some unsteady scaffolding and makes his way up onto a roof. He sees one other person there, a woman, and he asks explains he’s just trying to get out of the crowd. The woman responds that she’s there looking for him and she shocks him. He tries to run away from her onto another rooftop, but she zaps him again and lunges at him. She tries to take off his pants. Finally, he realizes three other women have pulled her off of him and are attempting to subdue her.
On a web forum online, someone going by “UrbanDox” has looked at photos of “Mother Eve” with her hood on and managed to figure out that she is actually Alison Montgomery-Taylor, someone who is wanted in Alabama for murdering her adoptive father. Others argue with the poster about whether this information is accurate or not.
The also discuss how these new churches have been popping up everywhere, and they express anger over her message of men humbling themselves before women.
At home, Margot is preparing answers for questions on why she should be elected governor. Alan, someone helping on her campaign, helps her prep.
Meanwhile, Jocelyn has been attending NorthStar camp to learn how to control and use her powers for the last two years. Today, Jocelyn introduces Margot to her boyfriend, Ryan. They then go upstairs and start to fool around. Ryan has a genetic abnormality that caused him to grow a skein and he survived it. Ryan has a small amount of power, but he has it.
Back downstairs, Margot continues to prep. She tells herself that she wants this position to be able to help Jocelyn and advocate for her, however, deep down she knows the “real reason is that she can’t stop thinking of the look she’d see on Daniel’s face if she got”.
Roxy ends up going to Bessapara, where Roxy’s father already had some connections, to set up a drug trade. She becomes the sole exporter of a substance called Glitter.
In Primrose Hill in London, a woman named Shanti sells Glitter, a purple-tinged drug that’s designed to enhance the power, on the street. Elsewhere in London, a man named Steve deals with import-and-export of various goods including some hourglass-shaped egg timers. Inside them is not sand, but Glitter.
Meanwhile, Roxy has been using her drug trade to gain influence with Tatiana. She also stays in contact with Allie, reserving part of the money for the cause.
Five Years to Go
(An illustration depicts a mass grave of male skeletons with their hands cut off and skulls marked with fern-like etchings, dated around 2000 years old.)
Before the big debate between Margot and Daniel, Daniel’s campaign manager, Morrison, gives him some encouragement. The debate starts, and Morrison notes that Margot seems to be getting the upper hand. At the commercial break, Morrison encourages Daniel to be more aggressive. As Daniel starts going for more of an attack, Morrison notices Margot tense up. She seems to be struggling to control her hands. Finally, when Daniel suggests that she doesn’t care about her daughters, Margot lets out a small jolt of electricity that causes him to stagger.
The rest of the debate continues as normal, and following the debate, Margot apologies for what happened. The polling suggests that people are appalled by what happened.
However, after voting day comes and the final votes comes in, it seems people actually did like her show of strength. Margot wins.
Tunde, now 27, arrives in Tucson, Arizona due to a tip that something was happening there today. Tunde isn’t entirely sure why he’s here, and he thinks that perhaps after what happened in Delhi he’s been “running away from the story, not towards it.” Today, he finds a group of men who are protesting at a mall in the name of “Justice for Men”. It’s a viewpoint that has grown in popularity online, with someone going by “UrbanDox” who has been championing the men’s rights movement.
Then, there’s an explosion as a bomb goes off. The mall is on fire and the front of the building is gone. Tunde tries to save a pregnant woman who is trapped under some debris. The pain of it causes the woman to send spasms of energy out of her palms. As Tunde attempts to remove the debris, the woman discharges a jolt into a wire that sparks and causes a fire around her. Tunde has to leave her behind, grab his camera and run.
Afterwards, a group called Male Power claims responsibility for the attack, which also destroyed a women’s health clinic next to the mall. On television, two television presenters — Tom and Kristen — report the attack. However, Tom starts to get worked up about how men aren’t being protected and starts cursing at Kristen.
Tunde’s sister Temi, urges him to come home so he can meet a nice girl and settle down. Tunde thinks about how he travelled with a journalist named Nina for a while, but they eventually parted ways.
Then, today, Tunde gets an e-mail from UrbanDox asking to meet.
The logistics of the meeting are complicated involving showing up at a location and a blindfolded car ride. Finally, Tunde finds himself in a storage locker sitting across from a man in his mid-fifties. He’s a pale man with white hair and blue eyes. Tunde knows that he had a string of failed businesses before getting a law degree through night school and finally becoming a blogger, posting angry rhetoric that increasing amounts of men are paying attention to. Lately, UrbanDox has been posting about a gender war he believes is forthcoming.
Tunde listens to UrbanDox spout off about his conspiracy theories about how women want to kill all men, leaving only a few to carry on the human race. He encourages Tunde to join them, but Tunde is thinking about how he can sell this footage and make money off of it. UrbanDox then hints that perhaps he has some access to nuclear weapons that got misplaced when the Soviet Union fell and that he’s possibly planning some type of attack.
By now, Allie is 20 years old. In Bessapara, a boy named Christian who is a paraplegic from an childhood accident asks her for a blessing. This boy has been specifically curated for this televised event, chosen since he had mild enough nerve damage that Allie could cure it.
As the crowd watches, Allie places her hands on the boy and he is then able to move his legs. The boy cries. Allie knows that sometimes her healing lasts, but sometimes it doesn’t, but either way it makes for a moving spectacle. Afterwards, there is a plea for donations to support the Church.
After the event, Allie corresponds with Sister Maria Ignacia, who has been loyally holding down the fort back at the original convent. Allie has recently asked Sister Ignacia to ensure that all files on “Alison Montgomery-Taylor” disappear, and today she receives confirmation that it will happen. While it’s not specified who is handling it, Allie knows that the believer most likely to have the power and influence to accomplish something like that is Roxy.
That night, Allie and Tatiana have dinner. They talk about the war between Bessapara and Moldova which has spanned the last three years. Tatiana wants to do a large attack and achieve a decisive victory with the help of some Glitter to amp up everyone’s powers. Since Awadi-Atif has been arming the North Moldovan troops, Tatiana wants to utterly destroy them with just the power to send a message. She wants Allie/”Mother Eve”‘s blessing.
Allie considers her options carefully, knowing that it will be a tricky situation if Bessapara ends up losing. Still, Allie soon broadcasts as Mother Eve, extending her support for Bessapara in their war against the Saudis.
By now, Jocelyn has been photographed with Ryan, and news article have been published about a governor’s daughter dating a guy with
Margot suggests Jocelyn to break up with Ryan, showing her reports that Ryan has been frequenting extremist sites and posting under a false name about planning terror attacks. Jocelyn insists that Ryan is a good person, but Margot tells her that the FBI dug up this stuff, hinting that the Department of Defence is vetting her for a possible senatorial run.
Jocelyn tearfully agrees to break things off with Ryan. Margot consoles Jocelyn, saying she understands that she’s frustrated about her fluctuations in power that make her abnormal, just like Ryan is abnormal. Margot reassures her that they can find some way to fix her.
Roxy is on her way to Moldova when she gets news that her half-brother Ricky has been injured. She makes her way to Bernie’s wife Barbara’s house. There, she sees that Ricky is injured from the waist down. He tells her about how the night before, three women took turns with him, using their powers on him to force an erection for the fun of making him hurt.
Ricky knows who the women are who did this. Roxy calls around and quickly tracks the women down to a pub in Vauxhall. When Roxy leaves to go deal with them, her youngest half-brother Darrell wants to go, too. She takes two others she trusts with her, Danni and Viv.
She waits until the three girls leave the pub and makes her attack when they’re outside. She takes one of them out first, leaving her twitching on the floor. The girls know who Roxy is and tell her they didn’t know it was her brother. Darrell then takes a second one out with the barrel of a shotgun. Finally, the last girl, Sam, tells Roxy that Ricky had asked them to do it to him, wanting it to hurt. Sam manages to grab Darrell, but Viv kicks Sam out.
Roxy leaves the girls blinded in one eye and marks them all with scars on their faces.
Back at home, Barbara apologizes to Roxy for being unkind to Roxy when she was young (since Barbara disliked that Roxy was Bernie’s daughter with another woman), and she thanks Roxy for taking care of the situation with Ricky. Roxy shrugs off her comment. Barbara then tells her that there’s things Bernie hasn’t told Roxy about his business because Ricky was meant to take over, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
Barbara then gives Roxy three notebooks full of information about Bernie’s contacts — “Narcs. Bent coppers. Rotten doctors” — saying that it’ll be useful to Roxy in selling Glitter.
Later, as Roxy goes through the notebooks, she recognizes one of the names — Detective Newland. Roxy recalls that when she killed Primrose, he had told her that “Newland said you weren’t going to be home”, indicating that Newland was part of the plot to kill her mother. A little bit of research shows that Newland is now retired and living in Spain. When she mentions to Darrell that she’s going to track him down, he wants to come, too. Roxy understands that with Ricky out of commission, Darrell understands that she’s the family he’s got left and he wants to align himself with her.
They find Newland at his home and confront him. He starts pleading and crying. They force him to start talking about his arrangement with Primrose, saying that if he cooperates they’ll make it look like a heart attack instead of a suicide (in which case his life insurance will pay out to his family).
Newland then confesses that he never worked for Primrose. He worked for Bernie, and Bernie was the one who ordered him to give the information to Primrose. In other words, Bernie ordered Roxy’s mother Christina to be killed.
Back at home, Roxy and Darrell confront Bernie. Bernie says it wasn’t personal; it was because Christina got two of his guys caught. Bernie says he’ll accept that she’s going to kill him if that’s what she feels she needs to do. However, Roxy thinks about it and decides that she doesn’t want to continue the cycle. Instead, she tells Bernie that he’s going to retire and tell everyone that he’s handing the business over to her.
By now, NorthStar camps are serving as funnel for girls going into the army and straight into active duty, with NorthStar camps collecting a “bounty” for each girl. It has made Margot Cleary popular with the army since it was her program.
Jocelyn is on night watch with a few other girls — Dakota, Hayden, Teegan and Samara — at NorthStar camp when the sirens go off. There’s never been a real attack before at the camp, but tonight there’s three men in black masks with baseball bats and bolt cutters.
There’s a scuffle as they men try to enter the camp, but the women manage to get the upper hand. Dakota wants to teach the men a lesson, but Joceyln isn’t sure what to do. Dakota then accuses her of being a “pzit” (an insult for a woman without powers, mimicking the sound of a failed electrical discharge). Wanting to prove herself, Jocelyn zaps one of the guys, killing him.
Two of the NorthStar people show up, Esther and Johnny. When Esther surveys the scene, she explains to Jocelyn what to say. She says that Jocelyn will need to tell others that she saw the guy reaching for a gun, creating a “clear and present danger”, which is why she used “proportionate force” to stop him.
Later, Jocelyn recites her story on the news. The news casters, Kristin and her new co-anchor Matt, also report on the war in Moldova, which the South Moldovans initially got the upper hand on, but the North Moldovans are currently winning with the help of the Saudis.
(An illustration of a “Priestess Queen” consisting of two welded together pieces, the status and a base. The base is marked with a “Bitten Fruit” motif, which is believed to be a religious symbol, and is constructed with “Cataclysm Era” materials, a combination of metal and glass. Dated to be over 2,500 years old)
(An illustration of a “Serving Boy” statue, which was found in the same group of objects as the “Priestess Queen”. It’s believed to depict a type of sex worker.)
(Four invitation cards from President Tatiana Moskalev, dated June 15, addressed to Senator Margot Cleary, Mother Eve, Roxy and Tunde.)
In Bessapara at a party at the President’s mansion, Tunde interviews Senator Cleary about the situation in Moldova. Margot explains that she supports President Moskalev because she was the democratically elected leader of her country. However, Tunde suggests that Margot’s interest is in ensuring that the exiled House of Saud (Awadi-Atif) doesn’t regain power in Saudi Arabia, thereby threatening the U.S. access to their oil.
Afterwards, he turns off the video for the interview, but he leaves the audio running. Margot then suggests to him that if he hears anything about what UrbanDox has planned, that he could make a lot of money by coming to her with that information. As Margot walks away, she thinks about how Tunde is so successful as a reporter because of how attractive he is.
Margot then goes to greet Tatiana Moskalev, who is seated on a golden throne. As they talk, Tatiana asks for U.S. assistance in their war against Northern Moldova. They are currently losing because they were betrayed by some men in Bessapara who told the North where their troops would be. Tatiana says that they may have to “alter” their laws to ensure they can root out the traitor and is hoping the U.S. will support them by staying out of their affairs.
Tatiana also says she is considering employing some NorthStar girls in their fight. As Margot thinks it through, she considers how the deployment of the girls in Bessapara would help to convince the UN to allow other deployments of NorthStar girls in places such as Saudi Arabia (where the U.S. has oil interests) by having a successful test case elsewhere. Securing that deal would be very beneficial for Margot (both in terms of her level of influence and possibility of profit).
Margot agrees to help convince the President of the U.S. that non-intervention is the right way to go. On her way out of the party, she bumps into Tunde who seems rushed and a little panicked.
In the chapel in the Bessaparan castle, Allie/”Mother Eve” meets with Jocelyn who traveled here with her mother and asked to meet with Mother Eve. Joceyln cries to Allie, who senses that her skein isn’t entirely functional. Skein deficiencies are difficult to correct and aren’t understood yet, but as Allie holds her hand, she senses what to adjust and is able to fix Joceyln’s skein. Jocelyn thanks her and leaves.
Back at the the party, Tatiana drops a bottle of brandy on the floor and demands a young man lick it up off the ground, despite the flecks of glass shattered in it. As he does, Allie is tempted to stop this spectacle, but knows it will diminish her in Tatiana’s eyes. Instead, Tatiana finally laughs and tells the man to get a broom to clean it up.
Allie approaches Roxy at the party to discuss the situation with Tatiana. Allie says that Tatiana has become unpredictable and may have outlived her usefulness. She suggests that perhaps Bessarpara needs new leadership and that perhaps Roxy should lead them instead.
After the party, Roxy drives elsewhere to work out a deal with some UN soldiers about getting around the current blockade at the border. Darrell set up the meeting. When Roxy gets to the location, she senses that something is off. She gets knocked out.
When she awakes, she realizes that she’s strapped down and that someone is cutting into her. She tries to fight back, but is unable to do so. Soon, they’ve cut her skein out of her. She’s able to see that Bernie is there and that Darrell is prepped to be implanted with her skein. As they start the operation on Darrell, they don’t notice her as she escapes from her restraints.
Roxy then sneaks out of the room and runs into the forest nearby.
Tunde photographs the 17-year-old boy, Peter, who has shards of glass in his mouth from Tatiana ordering him to lick up the brandy from the floor. The boy says it was his own fault for interrupting Tatiana. Before Tunde can walk away, Peter begs Tunde to stay. He says that Tatiana is planning on forcing all press to leave the country.
Tunde then files his story about what happened with Peter, but no one’s interested. The next morning, he decides to post it online instead, but he finds that he doesn’t have access to YouTube there, and his VPN and cellphone data aren’t operational. He finally decides to burn his footage on a DVD and mail it to Nina (the journalist he’d traveled with for a while) by asking the American ambassador to send it.
That afternoon, Tunde is asked by his hotel to hand over his passport. Meanwhile, most journalistic staff are on their way out of the country. Tunde stays, saying he’s writing a book about the new country. He watches as the police stop investigating murders of men. Tunde continues interviewing people, but he doesn’t post the interviews, knowing it would only result in him getting kicked out of the country. Instead, he does tourist-y type pieces, taking photos and whatnot.
When Tunde has been there for six weeks, Tatiana holds a press conference announcing that men now must have a female guardian and that their official documents and passport must name who their guardian is. Men will require their guardian’s permission if they wish to travel. Anyone without a guardian will be assigned to work detail by the police. The rule also applies to workers such as foreign journalists. Furthermore, men cannot take money or possessions out of the country, cannot drive cars, cannot own businesses, cannot vote, and are not permitted to gather in groups of more than three without a woman present.
There are still a handful of other journalists still in Bessapara, including a few that are male, along with Tunde. They debate whether or not to leave. When Tunde goes back to his hotel room, he goes to the front desk, offers some cash and hints that he’d like his passport back. He then asks for a Scotch to be brought up to him.
As Tunde packs up his things, the man from the front desk brings him a Scotch and his passport. Early in the morning, Tunde leaves the hotel.
Can’t Be More Than Seven Months Left
(Illustration depicting male genital mutilation, referred to as “curbing”. The description explains that it’s still practiced in some places. The process ensures that men cannot have an erection without being stimulated by a skein. Another consequence of the process is that men who have been “curbed” cannot ejaculate without pain.)
Allie is concerned that Roxy seems to have disappeared as of 8 weeks ago. Allie is in contact with Darrell, who appears to be concerned (though he’s just pretending of course, since he knows exactly what happened to Roxy). Meanwhile, Tatiana is paranoid and wonders if Roxy’s disappearance is because Roxy has sold them out. Allie doesn’t believe this, but instead notes how unstable and unpredictable Tatiana has become.
One night, Allie goes to Tatiana and uses her powers to adjust the neurons in Tatiana’s head to make her more pliable. She then tells Tatiana to sign some papers handing over more control of the country to the Church.
Near the Bessapara border, Darrell has now taken over the Glitter business, but he’s having problems with the U.N. blocking their shipments. Darrell’s implanted skein that he took from Roxy is still healing, so he can’t use it yet. The women don’t know that Roxy’s gone yet, but one of the women working at their warehouse reminds him that here he needs a female guardian and if his is missing, then he needs to be appointed a new one. Darrell insists that Roxy’s just taking a vacation.
On the phone with his dad, Darrell and Bernie talk about how they haven’t seen any sign of Roxy in two months. They also talk about their plans to sell skein transplants to others.
Jocelyn is still in Bessapara. After the attack on NorthStar, Margot sent Jocelyn to a therapist to work out trauma regarding the attack. However, Jocelyn hasn’t disclosed the truth of what really happened to the therapist because the therapist works for NorthStar and she doesn’t know if it’s safe to talk to her. Instead, they talk about Ryan. Ryan managed to get back in touch with her and has continued to insist that he had never posted or said any of the things that Margot claimed he did. Jocelyn knows that her mother has a habit of lying so much nowadays, so she believes Ryan.
Meanwhile, online Jocelyn has been reading various accounts of the atrocities in Bessapara where men are being raped and murdered and having experiments performed on then. Someone named Tom Hobson has been reporting on it and how the U.S. is stationed there so that Margot Cleary can export Glitter to be sold at a markup in the United States. Jocelyn thinks about how getting doses of Glitter has finally helped her to regulate her powers instead of having the abnormal highs and lows and other women don’t seem to experience.
Tom Hobson has reported that one of these Glitter manufacturing centers is near where Jocelyn is based. Jocelyn leaves to go check it out. She wonders if she might find something incriminating against her mom there that she might use to get her mother to leave her alone.
The weeks after Bessapara’s new rules, things began to change, but slowly since there was no one to enforce the new laws. Then, Tunde starts hearing tales of awful things happening. Tunde notices he’s being asked for his papers more and more frequently. Tunde gets wind of particularly awful thing happening in the mountains. Apparently the warlords there blinded girls who got their powers when everything started, and now apparently they’re getting their comeuppance. Tunde decides to head out there to report on it.
By the eighth week, when Tunde doesn’t have a properly signed document from his guardian permitting him to be out shopping, Tunde is turned away. In week ten, Tunde passes by a dead man tied to a post with a sign indicating that the man is a “slut”. Tunde photographs it. Later, he starts to suspect he’s being followed. Soon, he sees a woman who seems like she means him harm.
Tunde runs away from the woman and into the village, asking for help. He makes his way into an apartment building where he finds an empty room with an outlet. He plugs in his phone and uses it to send out emails to people he knows, asking them to contact the embassy to help get him out of Bessapara. However, one of the first responses he indicates that the person thinks it’s a joke.
He then sees that Nina has published a story about Bessapara. On further inspection, it becomes clear that she has taken the materials he sent her for safekeeping and published it all under her own name and that she plans to publish an entire book using on his materials. Tunde also sees that an obituary for him has been published. It’s believed that he died in a car wreck since his suitcase was found in the charred remains of an accident. Tunde recalls that it was a suitcase he’d left behind in the hotel. Tunde pieces together that they must’ve had him declared dead after realizing he’d fled from the hotel.
Before he can do anything further, Tunde hears the sound of people coming after him. Tunde runs away from the apartment building and into the woods. That night, he sees a group of a women and men naked and having sex in the woods as the women hurt the men with their powers and the men enjoy it. One of the men wears a crown and is brought forward and killed. When Tunde awakes, he doesn’t know if he dreamed it or not.
Tunde knows he needs to find a way to prove he’s alive and find a way out of the country. However, he gets ambushed by some women and wakes up in cage. He recognizes that his captor is Roxanne Monke.
Roxanne recognizes Tunde from his videos. Tunde asks for Roxy’s help, but she says she’s on the mend and that she doesn’t have much influence here. The camp is all women and smells like rotting food and rotting flesh. Roxy says that the women here are “mental” — they hunt men, let them be “king” for a few weeks, then they kill them. He pleads for her help, though Roxy says her plan was to lay low around these women and not cause trouble.
Still, Roxy bargains for Tunde’s life with a bag of Glitter that night. The negotiations are easy since they don’t care that much about him anyway. When they get away from the camp, she cuts him loose. She admits that she was betrayed by her people and that she’s still sorting out what to do next.
They end up staying at a refugee camp. People know Roxy and are respectful towards her. The other English-speakers at the camp talk about how around Bessapara, men without proper documentation are being rounded up for “work detail” and disappearing.
The third night there, Roxy wakes Tunde up to let him know that the camp is being attacked. As Tunde heads for the nearby forest, Roxy watches as women descend upon the camp, lighting it on fire and rounding up the young men. She hides and watches powerlessly as the women attack and torture one man as he screams until he’s dead. Roxy sees that the violence here is senseless. These women don’t want anything other than to do this “because they can”.
Roxy and Tunde hide in a tree nearby to get some sleep, but they are awaked when a woman dressed in combat gear starts burning the tree as they look for people hiding in trees. Roxy and Tunde haven’t been spotted yet. Tunde tells Roxy to give her a small zap, but then he realizes that Roxy hasn’t used her powers at all and remembers the scar on her collarbone.
Instead, Tunde tosses a film canisters at a nearby oil drum to try to distract the woman into going somewhere else to look. Roxy and Tunde make their escape as the woman is distracted and the others she’s with surround the oil drum. To Roxy and Tunde’s dismay, it turns out there were two young children hiding in the oil drum (which Tunde hadn’t realized). Roxy and Tunde have no choice as to keep running away as they watch the group of women descend upon the crying children.
Roxy and Tunde travel some distance and find a deserted rail station to rest in. They talk about what has happened to them and the betrayals they each experienced. They sleep together and find comfort in one another.
Here it Comes
(Illustration of a “Cataclysm Era” carving that has been scratched out, dating around 5,000 years ago.)
To the South, Jocelyn is on the road in her Jeep driving down a gravel road. In the North, Roxy and Tunde are sleeping in their shelter. In the West, Allie/”Mother Eve” knows that it’s time for Tatiana to go.
Allie goes into Tatiana’s room and places her hand on Tatiana’s back, as she has done many times before. She then uses her powers to cause Tatiana to pick up a letter opener and slash her own throat, knowing there are hidden cameras in the room. Allie then screams for help. Tatiana dies.
Inside the perimeter, they watch as a solider (Jocelyn) drives up in her Jeep and starts taking photos from the outside the gate. One of the women working there alerts Darrell. As he watches from the inside, he’s tempted to go test out his new powers on her, even though his father has ordered him to keep it secret until it’s time to find buyers for their technology.
He decides to go out to take care of the soldiers as the women watch him and follow along behind him.
When Roxy and Tunde awake, Roxy assures him that she’s going to get him out of the country. She says she needs to go get her skein back first though, but she says a blonde woman wearing a airline hat will come by tonight to drive him across the border in the trunk/boot of a car. As Tunde waits, he considers what to do with his footage and notes just in case he dies tonight. He quickly jots down an address and puts the package containing all the materials in a nearby mailbox as he sees a car pull up.
Tunde sees the blonde woman wearing a hat that reads “JetLife”. She gives him a bottle of water to drink and tells him he can piss in it if he needs to go to the bathroom. Then, he gets in the trunk.
Jocelyn is outside taking pictures when she sees a man (Darrell) approach her. Jocelyn agrees to leave, but the man wants to fights. Darrell is eager to really use his new powers, and Jocelyn is eager to see what she can do now that her powers have been cured. Jocelyn thinks she has the situation under control, but then when she goes to make her final blow, she shorts out. Instead, Darrell kicks her in the face and then jolts her until she is no longer moving.
Darrell feels triumphant until he realizes the other women are now eyeing him and coming towards him menacingly. He runs, but they catch up to him. They kill him and take his skein.
Roxy arrives at the factory with a small force, ready to mount an assault, but when she arrives they welcome her in. They shows her the skein they took from Darrell.
A short while later, Roxy meets up with Allie at a train station nearby. Roxy talks to Allie about how bad things are happening and that they should find a way to stop it now that Tatiana is gone. However, Allie has a completely different idea. She thinks that they should help the war to “begin in earnest”, using Roxy’s tale of betrayal to incite the women.
As Roxy and Allie talk it’s clear Roxy wants peace and Allie wants war. Roxy pleads with Allie not to do this.
Before they part ways, Roxy tells Allie to go find her former adoptive mother who has now remarried to a man named Lyle Williams. Allie does as Roxy recommends and seeks out the former Mrs. Montgomery-Taylor. Allie learns she is now running a children’s home in Jacksonville with her husband.
Allie calls her, and Mrs. Montgomery-Taylor immediately recognizes her voice. She tells Allie that she was the one who taught Allie discipline and made her into the person she is now, and Allie realizes that Mrs. Montgomery-Taylor was the one who instructed her husband to hurt Allie.
After the call, Allie is upset. Allie understands now that her whole idea that women are good and that men are bad is flawed, since she sees that a woman was behind her pain the entire time. Instead, it’s power that creates these dynamics, but for some reason people like follow leaders and give them power. (“Look, a King will basically make you into slaves, and don’t come crying to me when that happens. That’s what kings do.” “Welcome to the human race. You people like to pretend things are simple, even at your own cost. They still wanted a King.”)
In her office, Margot gets a call that Jocelyn has been found in the woods, barely alive. Margot is horrified to hear the news, thinking of Jocelyn as a child. She wonders “how can we stop it happening again” and she thinks about how the “old tree [of power] still stands” and how it needs to be blast to pieces.
An old man in rural Idaho receives a package (from Tunde) to be delivered to UrbanDox.
In a church, Allie/”Mother Eve” calls out to her followers to warn them that an apocalypse is near and that they should “build an ark”. She calls upon America to help Bessapara to fight the North.
As Jocelyn heals, it becomes clear she will never fully heal. Meanwhile, there are threats from extremist groups who have posted photos from what’s going on in Bessapara who are threatening attacks.
Margot advises the President that the United States must appear strong and send them a message that the U.S. is capable of and willing to escalate things. The President brings up rumors that the terrorists have ex-Soviet chemical weapons.
At that moment, all the parties (UrbanDox, Margot, Awadi-Atif, Mother Eve) are poised and ready for a fight.
By the end of the book, the world is on the brink of a massive war. The implication is that it will be hugely destructive and will remake the world and reshape who holds the power in the world.
Back at home, Roxy goes to see her father. She says that she should kill him, but instead they laugh together sitting on the porch. She tells him about meeting Tunde and how they like each other, and Bernie asks about if they’ll have grandkids someday. Roxy says maybe.
Roxy’s story ends with “they have another drink before they go down” and it seems be left a little vague as to what that means for Roxy and her father. However, given that Roxy owns an underground bunker and the story is implying that a nuclear or chemical war (or some combination of both) may be brewing, it seems likely that the line is indicating that Roxy and her father will be hiding out in the underground bunker.
That said, Roxy no longer seems focused on gathering power and exercising power. Instead, she seems to be thinking of her future and possibly a relationship with Tunde. She seems to be at peace, and the way her story ends seems to indicate that she will be fine and possibly happier without her power. As for her father, he has no more sons and is relatively powerless now as well. Instead, he wonders about grandchildren.
Roxy saying that she saved Tunde and how he likes her underground bunker, so that seems to indicate that Tunde did survive and was safely smuggled out of Bessapara. Of the characters in the book, Roxy and Tunde are the most powerless by the end, but they also seem to be happier and more hopeful than the rest.
Apocrypha excluded from the Book of Eve
The last section of the book is an excerpt from some text that was “discovered in a cave in Cappadocia, c. 1,500 years old.” It describes the shape of power (which it describes as being like a tree with offshoots and branches) and how complex it is.
The book closes with a series of letters from “Naomi” to “Neil” (the fictional writer of this “historical document”). They references various parts of the book, Naomi offers some criticisms of it and they do back and forth about his portrayals of men and women in his book.
The letters indicate that they are being written thousands of years after the events of the book (where the factions were primed for battle, resulting in the Cataclysm) and that the world has now been reshaped and is run by women.
This letter indicates that the world “Naomi” and “Neil” are living in now are post-Cataclysm (many thousands of years later), and in the post-Cataclysm world, women hold more power than men. These correspondences resemble arguments about how men and women are portrayed in real life historical accounts, except that in this alternate post-Cataclysm reality, the arguments are flipped.
For example, the comments about Tunde mirror how in real life women’s work has often been stolen or misattributed to men. In this alternate post-Cataclysm world, women hold the power and are the ones doing the stealing.
Similarly, “Naomi” comments how she worries that early on in the story, he talks about battalions of men in combat gear or police outfits will come off as a “sexual fetish”. This seems to indicate that men are sexualized in the post-Cataclysm world in the same way that women are sexualized in real life.
“Naomi” also wonders if the world pre-Cataclysm that was run by men would be more “nurturing” and “gentle” — indicating that men are now viewed as the more “nurturing” and “gentle” of the sexes, since women are considered the violent and brutish ones now. This seems to be Alderman’s way of saying that the way the sexes are perceived has to do with who holds the power and their relative physical strength as opposed to any inherent qualities.
“Naomi” talks about how in their post-Cataclysm world they believe that “men have evolved to be strong worker homestead-keepers, while women – with babies to protect from harm – have had to become aggressive and violent.” It’s Alderman’s way of questioning how we currently justify the roles we cast women and men into based on “evolutionary psychology”.
Meanwhile, “Naomi” tells “Neil” that his account contradict what they’ve been taught in schools, which is similar to the way that a lot of the “facts” in the real world are based on misunderstandings of history.
The book ends with Naomi suggesting that he publish his book under a woman’s name in order to prevent being dismissed as “men’s literature”.