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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
The young captain of the airship Independence has the unusual name of Rat - a result of his hunter-gatherer activities as a boy. A Man Called Rat by Regina Puckett presents us with a dystopian future where a great war has destroyed a large percentage of the human race and where Independence is ready for her maiden voyage. She has been assigned to deliver a consignment of wheat to the town of Freedom, accompanied by two robots. One of them is called Molly, 900 years old and tending to lose the odd screw here and there, and the other is called Boy, who tends to look at the bleak side of life, constantly reminding his erstwhile captain of the real or often imagined dangers they face.
Blown off course and having crossed a dangerous mountain range far from their intended route, they descend to a lake to urgently replenish their water supply. There they come across a group of females manacled and herded like animals by a band of renegades. Against the advice and doom-laden predictions from Boy, Rat manages to rescue the females and return them to their secret mountain home. But this is not the end of the story. Rat has formed an attachment to one of the girls - they are destined to meet again, and when they do she will reveal an astounding secret that will have great significance for what is left of the human race.
Designed for younger readers, A Man Called Rat is suitably short but contains enough action and adventure to satisfy the most demanding fans of the genre. Regina Puckett has ensured that the material is engaging enough to feed the imagination without resorting to overt or distressful violence. Rat is a troubled but likeable character, and his two dysfunctional robot assistants provide plenty of entertainment. An interesting and worthwhile story with much to recommend it.