Semper is Peter Dudley's first published novel.
Hundreds of years in the future, when Earth is left near-barbaric due to a technology implosion, a young man named Dane is dreading the duties and responsibilities his sixteenth birthday promises. On Dane's birthday, he will become "Semper" - the new leader of the Southshaw people - and will be forced to choose a wife. While hunting near his community, Dane encounters an alluring mutant-girl, whom he witnesses being captured by ghost people - a people rumored to slaughter children and eat them alive.
Intrigued and compelled to save the dark, beautiful mutant girl, Dane follows her and her captors miles into the forest. After helping the mutant girl escape, Dane begins to question whether the mutant girl is truly a mutant, which compromises his long-held Southshaw beliefs. Additionally, Dane discovers some centuries-old artifacts that open his mind to new possible truths and revelation about his world and surroundings.
Shortly after returning to Southshaw, Dane is exiled for coming into contact with the "dangerous" mutant girl and the artifacts. Dane leaves Southshaw with his new wife by his side, and sets out to discover what the rest of the world truly holds.
Semper combines several elements bound to appeal to a wide range of sci-fi and fantasy fans. The novel combines a little bit of ABC's Lost television series, a bit of the dystopian The Hunger Games element, and even some M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. Fans of these media will most likely devour Semper.
Semper is written in first-person from Dane's point of view, which makes the novel even more mysterious and enigmatic - mainly because you'll be guessing right along with Dane in trying to figure out why his world and society is the way it is.
Although there are religious conflicts present in Semper, I personally chose not to focus on this element since the topic fails to appeal to me; however, as a hard-core fan of conspiracy theories, I interpreted the novel as one big conspiracy mystery. The result was immensely satisfying, so ergo, this novel will definitely appeal to many readers no matter their tastes, interests, and beliefs.
One of my favorite aspects of Semper was that throughout my reading of this novel, my constant hunger for answers drove me to turn the pages with dedicated interest: Why and how did technology ruin Dane's world? Why does Southshaw consider some humans "mutant?" Why are some nearby regions still considered dangerous and radioactive? Why are some people bald and white, and what types of "mysterious" food (that is familiar to us, but not to Dane) is Dane describing? This list of questions goes on and on, which would probably make Semper a perfect book-club selection for teens and young adults.
Semper is adventurous and fun, and gives readers a lot to speculate and chew on. Dudley also concludes Semper in a wide-open manner that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment in this new series.
If you enjoyed any of the books displayed below, you will also enjoy Semper by Peter Dudley.
What are your favorite dystopian novels? Does Semper remind you of any other novels you've read or heard about? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.