If inventory is correct, we should have this book on our shelves now.
Colin Tugdale has only one year left to live. He has no complaints. He took the government money, and he lived for twenty years in perfect health, never growing one day older, never getting sick. But his time is almost over, and his beloved wife, Ruby, is already gone. Colin needs something to occupy himself. He meets a woman who should be dead. He sees a man who is dead. Is it possible that his government has been lying to him? Colin’s last year might prove to be his most exciting. Set in a world gently different from ours, this thriller explores the nature of aging in society, within the context of a thriller that places two ordinary people in a race against time that culminates in a remote boundary land.
About the Author
Peter Robertson was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has been a book reviewer for daily papers and magazines, stay-at-home dad, soccer coach, university student, and elementary and middle school teacher. He is the author of Colorblind, Mission, and Permafrost. He lives in Chicago.
“[I]n essence a mystery, . . . its SF trappings give it . . . genre-blending appeal. The novel delivers a fascinating exploration of an intriguing question: When death becomes not only inevitable, but something we can plan for years in advance, does it lose its power to terrify, or, alternately, does the known end date carry its own kind of terror? A smart and expertly written story.” —David Pitt, Booklist
“A gripping psychological thriller with intriguing science fiction elements . . . Sometimes moody and atmospheric, at other times pulse-pounding, Conclusion is a slim title that packs an emotional punch.” —Angela McQuay, Foreword Reviews
“[U]nique thinking mystery/detective book that lets readers ponder what it means to play God with the hope that those in charge know what they’re doing. The book ended spectacularly with lots of surprises. [G]reat . . . for those who like their mystery with a tinge of sci-fi.” —Andrienne Cruz, librarian at the Azusa City Library, Azusa, California, and member of the LibraryReads board
"Conclusion offers a clever, sci-fi, imaginative take on mortality. In it, 55-year-olds can be scanned and if the scan deems them healthy, they may choose to be “welded.” Upon welding, they won’t ever become sick, nor will they age. They’ll also get a payoff from the government. The tradeoff is that after twenty years, they’ll “conclude,” that is, they’ll simply die. Colin and Ruby chose the weld when they were 55 and now at 75, Ruby has concluded. Colin, being younger than Ruby, is bereft, confused, and not sure about his remaining time. Justin, a seemingly aimless man in his twenties, loses one of his jobs and decides to cut his ties with his current life. Taking only some cash and a few belongings, he heads for the Minnesota Boundary Waters area where he’d camped with a church youth group as a teen. When Colin spies a man he knows to be dead and is attracted to Angie, a younger woman who shouldn’t be healthy, he begins speculating on the possibility that the welding process has been manipulated. When Colin and Angie are threatened, they travel to Colin’s second home in Minnesota near where Justin is camping. The intersection of Colin’s and Justin’s stories with one contemplating mortality and the other considering the meaning of life in the great north woods offers a suspense-filled journey in the grandeur of the Boundary Waters. The protagonists tumble toward an ending that ambushes the reader yet is surprisingly satisfying. Summing it Up: Conclusion is a wild ride through the Boundary Waters with three characters in search of answers. It’s at its best in the depiction of the threatened wilderness that campers and paddlers adore. If ever there were a book meant for discussion in a bar with great IPAs on tap, this is it." —Trina Hayes, Hungry for Good Books
In his latest novel, Robertson has postulated an interesting variation on the science fiction theme of artificially extended human life. It is termed a “meld,” and involves a procedure that will allow the recipient to live 20 years from the date of planting in the body with the added benefit of contracting no diseases. Upon the final day of the allotted two decades, the individual will pass away quietly and with no real pain. The custom, as outlined in the author’s novel, is for most individuals to go for testing on their 55th birthday and if they have no mortal illnesses they will be “melded.” Colin Tugdale has only one year to live under the terms of the Meld agreement and has already accompanied his wife Ruby to her death by suicide in order not to undergo the meld “conclusion.” By coincidence, he then meets two people that throw his beliefs into chaos. The first is a man that “died” at the end of his 20 years, and another a woman that hacked her way via computer into taking the treatment when she is physically not qualified to have it. The man is seen calmly walking around in public, and the woman initiates contact with Colin with the two falling in love. The novel touches on the feelings of people facing the end of their lives with the certain knowledge that it will come at a date known to them. The question of how one “dead” man and a sick woman are where they are touches on the real possibility of corruption existing in the selection process, and if this life and death activity is really subject to illegal maneuvering. A very different novel, one that is beyond any doubt a book that cannot be put down until done, and of course, a story that will cause the reader to seek Robertson’s future works." —Paul Lane, Stacy Alesi's Book Bitch