Nick Harkaway may be obsessed with the end of the world, and what it means to be human in the face of it. On the former British Colony of Mancreu, an island off the coast of Yemen, the volcano spews toxic clouds that could spell world’s end. Politics & people get involved; the island becomes a legal grey zone – something out of Gibson. In drops Lester, a nearly-retired sergeant allowed to serve out his duties, who meets and befriends a boy. I feared, halfway in, that this book would break my heart; it did, but not as I quite expected.