Lost Time (Between Two Evils, Book 2)

by D. L. Orton
Rocky Mountain Press

"The question nags at me night and day. What happened in this universe that changed things?"

When a living, breathing, nearly naked man is discovered falling from a tree in a zone where no human life can survive, it’s natural that everyone in the biodome will be curious—but some people have a crucial interest. Shannon, the teenage girl who found him and brought him into the dome, needs compatible males to breed within a dwindling population. Shannon’s medically-trained mother Lani wants to find out what gave the man calling himself Diego Crusoe the ability to survive after the Doomsday Virus swept over the world, destroying all human life left outside. The powerful, arrogant Doctor David is especially keen to find out more about Crusoe; David built the Colorado biodomes and keeps tabs on any suspicious happenings outside.

As he gradually recovers, Crusoe is forced to realize that he has lost twenty years of his life by landing up in the biodome, and, if what he’s being told is true, he’s lost his beloved fiancée, Isabella, in the transition. As he acclimatizes to dome life, he learns that only a few thousand people are now left in the United States. How long can their marginal lifestyle be sustained? Pooling his memories with the new revelations he is hearing from the bubble denizens, Crusoe develops a friendly affair with Lani and a fatherly regard for Shannon that will impel him to try to find relief for the dome-trapped population. Gradually, he realizes he may have the knowledge needed to revitalize the planet. And, remarkably, some of that knowledge may rest with Isabella and the experiments she was doing twenty years ago. Did she really perish in the plague or will Crusoe find her where he least wants or expects to?

The second book of a series and the recipient of several awards, this novel can be easily read and enjoyed as a stand-alone volume. There is a new revelation or another fast-paced twist on nearly every page. Orton displays a noteworthy gift for language, incorporating puns and wordplay from different cultures and making up some new bits as she goes along. Crusoe’s arrival with no more than a towel hiding his “full monty” offers rich opportunities for much saucy double entendre, while Shannon and her teen friends are inventing new buzzwords all the time. Shannon apologizes for putting her “toes” in her mouth, swears she is not a “limbo” (Crusoe translates this correctly as “bimbo”), and speaks of a rare dog breed: the “Herman Shepherd.” All these are clever, well-chosen examples by the author of how spoken language can deteriorate over time in isolation and with few sources of reference.

The storyline is gripping. Romance, intimate and personal with empathically expressed viewpoints, is interspersed with dramatic action and intrigue. The reader will puzzle out with Crusoe how he got where he is and how everyone can get out of where they are—stuck in a nerve-wracking new world with gradually dwindling food and medical supplies. Readers of this fascinating tale will be scurrying to catch up on the other volumes in the Between Two Evils series, both to find out what happens before and after and to savor Orton’s sparkling prose.

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