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The Lesson  By  cover art

The Lesson

By: Cadwell Turnbull
Narrated by: Janina Edwards,Ron Butler
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Publisher's summary

An alien ship rests over Water Island. For five years, the people of the US Virgin Islands have lived with the Ynaa, a race of super-advanced aliens on a research mission they will not fully disclose. They are benevolent in many ways but meet any act of aggression with disproportional wrath. This has led to a strained relationship between the Ynaa and the local Virgin Islanders, and a peace that cannot last.

A year after the death of a young boy at the hands of an Ynaa, three families find themselves at the center of the inevitable conflict, witness and victim to events that will touch everyone and teach a terrible lesson.

©2019 Cadwell Turnbull (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

Critic reviews

“Turnbull is a rising star in the science fiction and fantasy world.” (The Verge

“Turnbull was raised in the Caribbean in a family that lived there for generations. This slow but gradual addition to the field of diverse writers whose fiction is influenced by their cultural background has not only led to a more authentic depiction of places other than mainland America and the United Kingdom, it’s also revitalized the genre’s creaky old tropes, such as the alien invasion/first contact narrative.... The Lesson is everything I adore about a debut, a bold new voice that applies a fresh coat of paint to an old idea and does so with a sense of daring, compassion, and intelligence.” (Ian Mond, Locus) 

“Sometimes the aliens don’t land in New York or London. In fact, the alien Ynaa ship that catalyzes the emotional landscape and drives the action of this debut novel lands in the harbor of Water Island, one of the US Virgin Islands.... A persuasively - almost musically - worded meditation on colonialism and whether it’s really possible to return home again.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review)  

Editor's Pick

First contact & human connection
"Despite its popularity as a genre, I find that true literary sci-fi is a tricky thing to get just right. And yet Cadwell Turnbull’s debut has done just that. A first-contact narrative set in the US Virgin Islands, The Lesson is as "unpauseably" (it’s a word, okay?) compulsive as it is worthy of quietly savoring. Turnbull explores—yes, even through his non-human characters—the full range of the human experience: the sense of family, of feeling on the outside, of needing to belong to someone or something. One listen will not be enough—I know I’ll come back to this novel again, eager to reacquaint myself with the characters and pick up on those subtle cues missed the first time around. Not to mention re-experience the dynamic performances from the skilled duo of Janina Edwards and Ron Butler."
Sam D., Audible Editor