Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall

Just outside the tiny British Columbia town of Chilliwack, a great object plunges to Earth, setting fires and sending shock waves for miles — the Cosmic Fall, as it becomes known around the world. The Canadian government reassures all that it was a meteorite and even displays pieces on television, but the real truth is far more complicated — and frightening.

Young Ben Archer is visiting his beloved Grampa when the crash occurs, but remembers nothing except waking in the forest near his home days later. He returns to school a month later accompanied by his faithful terrier, Tike, who has strangely stopped barking, but sits outside the school patiently each day until his master departs. Then, on their way home one day, Ben’s mother Laura intercepts them to rush to the hospital, where Grampa, Ryan Archer, has been located, suffering from a heart attack. This attracts the threatening agents of CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and life becomes far more difficult and dangerous for Laura, Ben, and Tike … and a man wearing a floppy-earred hunting cap with strands of white hair poking out from underneath named Jack Anderson.

As the family struggles to escape CSIS, they’re aided by a group of Cosmic Fall survivors … and more than a few wild animals. Ben doesn’t pay much attention to the latter development, but it proves more and more essential as the story moves on. The government is determined to capture Ben under any circumstances, but the family always escapes in the barest nick of time.

Rae Knightly writes a fine science fiction mystery with just enough real life blended in to make the tale realistic and believable. Her descriptions of British Columbia are so vivid that the novel is almost a movie, spilling out before the reader’s eyes.

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