Hugh C. Howey: Shift

Hugh C. Howey

Born in 1975, I spent the first eighteen years of my life getting through the gauntlet of primary education. While there, I dabbled in soccer, chess, and tried to write my first novel (several times).

Out of school, I became fascinated with computers, repaired them for a brief stint, then moved to Charleston, SC and attended college. To save money, I purchased a small sailboat to live on, and nearly got myself killed bringing it down from Baltimore with a friend.


After my junior year of college, possibly out of fear of the real world, I left my safe little harbor and sailed South. I hopped around the islands for a while, went through two hurricanes, and spent the last of my cruising funds re-stepping my mast. It was time to head back to the States, where I began a career as a yacht captain.

This began an exciting phase of my life, traveling all over the East coast and Caribbean, from Barbados to Chicago. I worked on boats in New York, the Bahamas, even Canada. One of these adventures brought me together with my wife, who was able to lure me away from my vagabond ways, dropping anchor and buying a house.

Physically settled, my mind continued to roam, concocting adventures and whisking me off to fantastic places. Some of these tales seemed worth sharing, so I tapped into my love of books and decided to write them down. My first stories detail the life of a character that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. Her name is Molly Fyde, and she draws inspiration from the awesome women in my life.

My Wool series became a sudden success in the Fall of 2011. Originally just a novelette, the demand from Amazon reviewers sent me scurrying to write more tales in this subterranean world. The resulting Omnibus has spent considerable time in the Amazon top 100, has been a #1 Bestseller in Science Fiction on Amazon, and was optioned by Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian for a potential feature film. The story of its success has been mentioned in Entertainment Weekly, Variety, and Deadline Hollywood among many others. Random House is publishing the hardback version in the UK in January of 2013.

When I’m not writing, I like to go for hikes with my family, take a stroll on the beach, and keep up with my reading. I currently live in Jupiter, Florida with my wife Amber and our dog Bella.

Book Description


The much-anticipated prequel to bestseller Wool that takes us back to the beginnings of the silo. The full novel which brings together First, Second and Third Shift.

‘The next Hunger Games’ The Sunday Times
‘An epic feat of imagination. You will live in this world.’ Justin Cronin
In a future less than fifty years away, the world is still as we know it. Time continues to tick by. The truth is that it is ticking away.
A powerful few know what lies ahead. They are preparing for it. They are trying to protect us.
They are setting us on a path from which we can never return.
A path that will lead to destruction; a path that will take us below ground.
The history of the silo is about to be written.
Our future is about to begin.


Normally when you start a second book its with a little trepidation, will it suffer a second book slump? Not so with this one, this has been published in short story form to some acclaim. After reading Wool I really wanted to get my hands on it and was glad it wasn’t a year wait between books.

Where Wool drew you into a dark world, a world that explored human interaction, evolution in seclusion, a real 1984 style culture of being monitored and living to a strict code, Shift takes it to the next level. A prequel that shows how it all began, running in a time slip  style showing Before the end, the creation of the Silo’s, right through to its parallel plot running through the collapses and with flick backs to Wool and the voice on the end of the headset.

I thought this book was so well paced and structured, I was gripped from page one, I was yearning for those overlaps, where Shift meets Wool, to how characters became what they were and why.

Solo’s character is a wonderful portrayal of a young man in isolation, but without any level of depressing thought, just survival, you really root for him all the way through, even though you know what happens to him.

Donald though is a clear favourite, a man who thinks he is serving his country, a man who is manipulated from the start, a man who sympathises and understands eventually what is happening and how the people in the Silos have been tricked, even though they do not know it. A man who maybe going mad, a man who may just be seeing the whole picture and becoming the only sane man left. It’s for you to judge.

Very Highly recommended




Filed under Dystopian

2 responses to “Hugh C. Howey: Shift

  1. I absolutely loved Wool. Really glad that this one seems as good as the first, can’t wait to read it!

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