In a future where most of the men are dead, Cole and her twelve-year-old son Miles are on the run from the most dangerous person she knows … her sister.

Miles is one of the lucky survivors of a global epidemic. But, in a world of women, that also makes him a hot commodity. The Department of Men wants to lock him away in quarantine, forever maybe.

A sinister cult of neon nuns wants to claim him for their own; the answer to their prayers. And boy traffickers are close on their heels, thanks to Billie, Cole’s ruthless sister, who Cole thought she left for dead.

In a desperate chase across a radically changed America, Cole will do whatever it takes to get Miles to safety. Because she’s all he’s got.



For US review copies and interviews:


AP piece on Plague as Art.

Library Journal  “2020 Titles To Watch: Your guide to the year’s most anticipated books”

Top 10 in Publishers Weekly Spring 2020 Announcements: Mysteries & Thrillers,

Literary Hub Most Anticipated Books of 2020

PopSugar’s Must-Read 2020 Books Written by Women


“I’m an enormous fan of Lauren Beukes. She’s an endlessly interesting writer, able to bend and weld genre to ask provocative questions and bring light to the shadows of the human condition. Afterland is a thoroughly gripping, imaginative thriller about a mother protecting her son, a rare survivor of a devastating plague that wiped out most of Earth’s male population. In this new world, women exercise power for and against each other–the power of love, the power of violence, unleashed in the absence of men.” — Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay

“Beukes’s imagined world — complete with bootleg sperm and faux baby bumps — is a thrilling setting for an examination of maternal love.” — Joumana Khatib, New York Times

“If you’re ready for a wild ride across an America forever changed by a devastating pandemic, climb aboard Afterland by Lauren Beukes. It’s a summer thriller with a mother and son at the center; they’re on the run, pursued by malevolent forces, hoping to cross the border and go home. It’s a lot — but it’s also a lot of fun...” — Carolyn Kellogg, for the Boston Globe

“A postapocalyptic thrill-ride.”— The Oprah Magazine

“[Beukes] propels the story forward with stolen cars, flying bullets and rest stops in quirky communities… Afterland becomes a fierce love story, one that maps the treacherous roads a mother will travel to protect her child.” — Kimi Eisele, High Country News

“The big ideas work because the form is whizz-bang, bam-bam. It rattles along at breakneck speed, appropriately enough for a novel about people on the run. Beukes’ gift is to write page turning books that have serious political themes. Afterland manages the tricky balance of being direct and discrete at one and the same time.” — Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

“Timely and unsettling.” — Annabel Gutterman, Time

“Deeply compelling . . . I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Afterland. Beukes brings a deep tenderness to the tangle of humanity that comes with widespread grief and clumsy attempts at coping with the weight of loss. This is really something special.” — Sarah Gailey, author of Upright Women Wanted and Magic For Liars

“[This book is the meeting of] the surprise matriarchy of The Power, the millenarian despair of Children of Men and the deeply intelligent questions of Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of DarknessAfterland is that rare creature, a ripping tale that neither shies away from big questions nor interesting answers”. — Sally Adee, for New Scientist

“Lauren Beukes’s fifth novel is a smartly written thriller that opens with a satisfying bang… Splendid… Think of a world where Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have gone to their reward, but Rush Bader Ginsburg keeps on trucking. That doesn’t sound so bad, eh?” — Stephen King, for the New York Times

“With remarkable prescience, Lauren Beukes’s Afterland takes on an “unprecedented global pandemic” with chilling results–and surprising comic relief threaded throughout. [Afterland is] an epic odyssey of a mother’s determination to save her tween son.”— Terry Hong, Shelf Awareness

“Intriguing and all too timely… a worthy addition to the pandemic fiction subgenre.” — Publishers Weekly

“As with all Beukes’ novels and comic books, the story is also witty, thrilling, humane and full of powerful observations on issues of gender, family and the media-dominated daily culture of the early 21st century. ” —  Christopher McMichael for New Frame

“Beukes is a gifted storyteller who makes it thrillingly easy for readers to fall under her spell as she weaves a hypnotic vision of a fractured world without men. [Afterland is] A propulsive and all-too-timely near-future thriller.” — Kirkus

“Beukes is a gifted storyteller who makes it thrillingly easy for readers to fall under her spell as she weaves a hypnotic vision of a fractured world without men. [Afterland is] A propulsive and all-too-timely near-future thriller.” — Kirkus

Afterland is not only an intriguing thought experiment, but a riveting read. With her ability to create cinematic-like action, Beukes embeds the reader in the scene and keeps the plot moving at a brisk clip.” — Connor Goodwin, Shondaland

“Beukes nails the speed of the unraveling, and the strangeness of living in a suddenly altered world.” — Emily Temple, Lit Hub

“A gripping work of speculative fiction… In today’s world, Beukes’ feminist dystopia of contagion, police brutality, and religious extremism hits frighteningly close to home.” — Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

“Part thriller, part science fiction, and all amazing.” — Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping

“I was high-key very, very stressed reading Afterland — but that is the point: It’s a stressful world Cole and Miles are living in! Beukes expertly writes tension and trauma.” — Emily Burack, Alma

“Combine[s] pop culture references with the unerring love of a mother protecting her son.” — Sabienna Bowman, Popsugar