Four siblings rage against the world in which they live, a world buried in sand, where humans struggle to survive by diving to retrieve remains entombed in ancient cities over what was once Colorado. Divers use unique unexplained technologies to vibrate the sand around them, essentially moving as though through water. Despite the advanced electronics, dives are still extremely dangerous, tense and claustrophobic high-profit endeavors. This post-apocalyptic world is cruel and gritty, akin to the wild west, lawless, where everyone fends for themselves.

The father, who once provided well for the family, up and left when Vic, the oldest daughter was just a teenager, leaving the youngest son, Rob to never even know his father. In order to save the family from total ruin, their mom runs a whorehouse on the edge of town, in time succumbing to the offers and becoming one of the girls herself. Vic is a natural fighter, moves to the next town over, and becomes one of the best divers in the area. Palmer, living in the shadow of his big sister, gets mixed up in a conspiracy bigger than himself. Conner struggles to maintain what’s left of the family while secretly waiting for his escape, for the son to become what he hates, his father. Rob, the baby, is treated as such, even though he’s smarter than anyone gives him credit for.

Sand is a redemption story of a broken family in a broken society, and what they do when they’re pushed to the breaking point. Hugh Howey gives another clever, honest, heartbreakingly optimistic story of humanity’s struggle to survive.

“Clinging to an idealized past was a poison of sorts, that bastard Nostalgia, making people think there was a better time and place if they could just get back to it.”