" Why do writers write? Because it isn't there."- Thomas Berger
As the Crow Dies
With the sun relentlessly beating down from the cloudless blue sky onto the scorching burnt orange sand below, I was being systematically destroyed by the barren wasteland and my brain felt as though it was being sucked through cheesecloth as the moisture was leeched from it to feed to other vital organs, causing a blinding relentless headache that was paralyzing every nerve ending. Placing one foot in front of the other I could feel my strength ebbing away. As each step was sucked into the vortex of sand taking every fiber of my strength to pull them out again, even when the ground was firm and didn’t give an inch, I stumbled over rocks that threatened to twist, break and bruise my unsuspecting ankles. The dryness of the air was exhausting the body even further, with eyes getting sand blasted every time the wind picked up, and the skin, not only sweating, but exsiccating to feed the air, the insects and whatever flora is around. A few hours in and I passed out.
The sun beats down and the bright orange canopy above me begins to wilt in the heat of the early morning sun. It’s only 10am and it’s already as hot as Hades, the canopy does little to protect us. I can't get comfortable and I'm left wondering how I end up in these situations. It's been nearly two years since I found myself dehydrated and covered in sores in the middle of the Gobi and now I find myself bobbing around somewhere between the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, inside a black-hulled orange-canopied life raft, with only my oldest friend in the world Guy, for company. How Guy and I came to be together again will become clear, but for now it’s enough to say that we’re getting sick of each other's company. Three days stuck in a glorified rubber dinghy that’s about the size of a kid’s paddling pool with nowhere to go will make you slightly claustrophobic. There is nothing to do, I mean nothing. Guy and I jumped into the one remaining life raft, as the boat that we were on sank into the ocean.
After the Fuel Wars, countries retreated in on themselves. England closed its borders and in bid to cure an obesity crisis the government issued all citizens with Kelp Bars and stopped them cooking for themselves. Kelp had become the worlds’ fuel source as well as being used to manufacture everything that oil used to be used for through personal 3D printers called Replonators.
Max, a young revolutionary, has had enough and decides to do something about it, by killing the world’s supply of kelp. This means stealing a sample of the last herbicide and getting down to the coast of Africa to spread it through the underwater currents of the globe where it will kill all ocean plant life.
Hot on his heels is young female Interpol operative, Jennifer, whose job it is to stop him and chase him down to Asia for the final showdown.
"Perhaps most interestingly for a first novel, the characters aren't the usual stereotypical clichés - the protagonist has neither a smart-alec response to everything, nor is he a thinly veiled Bond pastiche. He's not even always likeable - and that in itself is a rare, and difficult thing to pull off. And it's not just the main characters who're entertaining - Mark the monk shines as a character I'd have enjoyed more interaction with in the story - although I grant that asking for much interaction with a silent monk is asking quite a bit." Dave Cridland
"A fast-paced intelligent story that draws the reader into the mysterious world of business in China and introduces a likeable, cynical and witty "hero': journalist Harry Patterson. As The Crow Dies makes Stuart Carruthers an author to watch!" Meley
"The novel takes you on a fast-paced journey through Hong Kong and China in the footsteps of a journalist that is about to bite over more than he can chew. I thought it was an enjoyable read, although I think the conspiracy theory that the novel touches on could be made into a bigger story than it is in this novel." John Lysfjord