Rebel Heart

Saba killed the King, but she didn’t destroy the empire. DeMalo, the King’s second in command, has taken control. He has plans to create a new empire and prove himself a much tougher opponent than his predecessor.

All Saba wants to do is join up with Jack at the ocean and live the rest of her life in peace. But the world has other plans. Rumors that Jack joined the Tonton sends Saba on a journey to find him. Only Saba believes in Jack’s innocence; those she travels with doubt his intentions and are ready to kill him if need be.

Swept into the heart of DeMalo’s new empire, Saba reluctantly joins rebels who are determined to destroy everything DeMalo has created. This sequel to Blood Red Road is not as fast-paced as the first, but the world DeMalo is trying to build is both interesting and alluring. The author makes Saba’s decision between joining DeMalo and fighting him a difficult one. While his methods may be harsh, the picture he draws of the future is beautiful. It’s the age-old question: does the end justify the means? A gripping story, the Dust Lands series has enough violence and sexual content to exclude younger readers.

Sexual Content

  • Saba sees her brother go off with a prostitute after a party. “His hands circle her ankles, smooth her bare legs with restless intent. She jumps down. She takes him by the hand. She leads him off into the night.”
  • Slim tells Lugh to, “get on with it. Life’s too short. Take her off in the bushes, my friend, an make her yer own. If you don’t, somebody else will. Hell, I might jest make a play fer her myself.”
  • Tommo kisses Saba. She stops him.
  • Saba makes out with DeMalo, then sleeps with him. “I’ve climbed on to his lap an I’m runnin my hands through his hair, over his shoulders an arms, while we kiss . . . he drags his lips along the inside of my arm, wrist to elbow. Trailin shivery fire on my tender skin till I’m quiverin head to foot. A rush in my belly, hot an ancient . . . I lead him to the bed. We lie down together.”
  • Molly sees a hickey on Saba’s neck.
  • Saba kisses Tommo to get him to trust her.
  • Saba kisses Jack when she finally finds him. “He takes my face in his hands an kisses me, over an over an over agin. My lips an my cheeks an my eyes an my lips, oh my lips. An I kiss him back. My whole body’s shaking. On fire. He’s shakin too.”


  • Subjects of New Haven are branded on the forehead depending on their status.
  • A family is displaced. The parents and son are shot, the daughter shoots herself rather than be taken. One of the soldiers is also shot for disobeying orders.
  • Saba is attacked by wolves. Her friend’s wolfdog saves her by ripping the other wolves’ throats out. Saba is knocked unconscious during this; she only sees the dead wolves afterward. “They lie in pools of their own blood. Both got their throats ripped out . . . The air hums with a hungry buzz. Flies. Hunnerds of ’em. Thousands of ’em. The open wounds, the half-dried lakes of sticky blood.”
  • In a fit of rage, Saba attacks her brother. “I leap at Lugh. I knock him backwards. We roll on the ground. I punch, I kick, I claw . . . my hands is tight around Lugh’s throat. My thumbs pressin on his windpipe.”
  • Saba discovers a temple of skeletons built by cannibals. The skeletons “sit close packed, side by side, on long wooden benches. They gleam whitely, dully, in the dim light.”
  • There is a pot cooking in the temple. “Somethin large bobs to the surface. It turns over…a face looks at me. A human face.” She flees, killing a priest on the way out. The cannibals give chase, and she shoots several of them with her arrows.
  • Saba and her friends hijack a man’s wagon. They force him to drive it by threatening to shoot him. “Gawdamn sonofabitch, I mutter . . . I walk fast, loadin by bow, aimin it straight at his face. He throws his hands up.”
  • Twice while on the road, Saba and her friends are spotted. They kill the people to keep their presence in New Haven quiet. “He shoots her head. An it’s silent. Jest like that.”
  • While on the road Saba sees a dead man who was lashed to a tree trunk. “A fat iron spike’s bin nailed through his throat. He ain’t bin here more’n a few days. He died hard. Hard an long.”
  • Saba jumps off a cliff. DeMalo pulls her out of the water and asks, “Were you trying to kill yourself?…[Saba] says naught.”
  • When attacked by Tonton, all the Tonton are killed. One of Saba’s allies is killed, possibly from friendly fire. “Both Tonton lie dead on the ground. Bram hangs halfways outta the driver’s seat, face down. He’s bin shot in the back.”
  • Maev gives herself up as a diversion so the others can escape. She fights for as long as she can, then blows herself up. When Saba tells Maev goodbye, “I kiss her lips. Don’t let ’em take you, I whisper . . . An as I soar through the darkness, high above the lake, Maev starts to shoot . . . the sound of gunfire goes on fer longer than I’d of thought it would. Or could. Then one big explosion.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • Jack drinks wormwood whiskey at his friend’s inn.
  • Saba accuses her brother of taking the drug chaal, but he denies it.
  • Saba’s brother is hit with a blow dart. They cut open the wound and suck the poison out.
  • Saba drugs DeMalo’s wine with a potion that will knock him unconscious for many hours.


  • The words damned, helluva, fergawdsake, damn, and sonofabitch are used once or twice.
  • Hell, variations of gawdamn, and ohmigawd are used often.
  • When Saba starts acting irrationally, her brother yells at her. “Tell me, gawdammit! Why’d you break yer dawdamn bow?”


  • Saba has a heartstone. It gets hot as a way of leading a person to their heart’s desire.
  • Saba starts to see ghosts. “It’s Epona. But not like she was. In life, she gleamed an shone…She’s a child of the air now. Fog an mist. She drifts. She gathers. She fades.”
  • Saba meets the Sky Speaker, a type of shaman who can sing the earths songs and sometimes see what will happen in the future. “The Sky Speaker’s shakin, head to foot. Her eyes roll back an she waves her hands wildly. She starts to babble, a endless stream of sounds.”
  • Saba follows the Wraithway, a road where spirits are said to roam.

Spiritual Content

  • None

by Morgan Lynn

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