The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy. It was written in 2008 by Patrick Ness.
The main idea Edit
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey, in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
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Todd Hewitt is the only boy left in Prentisstown, a small settlement on New World where all boys become men upon turning thirteen in accordance with a 13-month calendar. Todd begins the novel one month shy of his thirteenth birthday. He begins the novel oblivious to Prentisstown's history, having been told that all women and half the men have been killed by a germ released by the native species on his planet known as the Spackle. As a side effect of this germ, the remaining men in Prentisstown can hear each other's thoughts, described as an ever-present cascade of "Noise".
Todd, however, is soon forced to learn the truth. Ben and Cillian, his adoptive parents, have been planning his escape for the past eleven years. When Manchee, Todd's dog (which was a present from Cillian on his 12th birthday), spills them out, Todd is forced to tell them of a spot of moving silence in the Noise; the two men immediately force him to leave Prentisstown. Todd unwillingly obeys, taking with him a rucksack Ben has prepared containing Todd’s deceased mother’s diary. Ben then proceeds to give him his hunting knife when they part ways. He follows a map through the swamp. Whilst Todd is escaping, they are attacked by the town preacher, Aaron, who has recently been provoking Todd in physical and mental fights. However, after Aaron is attacked by crocodiles and is subsequently disfigured. Todd and Manchee manage to escape him. Todd comes across the spot of silence and meets the girl who is causing the silence. She says nothing but leads him through the swamp to her scout ship, where her parents’ bodies lie half-decayed. It is apparent that she has crash-landed on New World. They begin traveling together.
During their journey, Todd realizes that he, infected with the germ, might transmit the germ to the girl and kill her. She hears this in his Noise and flees, but he pursues her until they both encounter Aaron and men from Prentisstown who are tracking them at a bridge. The girl eventually saves them both by soaking part of the bridge in lighter fluid then setting it on fire with her campfire pack, and tells Todd her name, Viola.
After their escape, Todd and Viola are found by Hildy. She tells Todd that the 'germ' is not fatal for women and in fact does not affect them at all. She then takes the two to her settlement, Farbranch. At nightfall, an army of men from Prentisstown arrives and burns down the town, killing all those who will not join them. Todd and Viola escape and flee for the most technologically advanced settlement on New World, Haven, where there maybe be a cure for Noise and a transmitter tower to contact Viola's people still in space.
After a few days, the Mayor’s son, Prentiss Jr., finds them. After a brief struggle that ends up with Viola electrocuting Prentiss Jr. (with a device that allows the people on her ship know where she is on the planet), Todd is going to finish him off with a knife. However Viola does not allow this and reminds Todd of his humanity, and how the army will get what they originally wanted if Todd becomes a killer. Instead, Todd ties up the Mayor’s son before heading off for Haven with Viola.
During this trip, they find a live Spackle. Todd is shocked, since he had believed that all Spackle had been killed in the war. Having grown up hearing terrible stories of the Spackle, Todd leaps at the Spackle and kills it. Viola promptly shouts at Todd for being stupid (she also swears at him for the first time). Todd argues that the Spackles are what caused all of the women in his town to die, but Viola angrily reminds him that everything Todd has been taught is false and that all of the Spackles were originally supposed to be wiped out by the war. Todd, realizing his mistake and the fearful Noise of the Spackle moments before he died, realizes that he's a killer.
Aaron finds them. Aaron stabs Todd, and kidnaps Viola. Several hours later, Todd wakes up and hurriedly goes after Aaron, although his stab wound becomes infected and sickens him. Todd rescues Viola, by Manchee sacrificing himself. The pair escape on a boat, where Todd collapses from his shock.
When he wakes up, Todd wakes up under a care of a doctor. Todd insists on a walk and surprisingly encounters Ben. However the town gets involved and labels Ben as a murderer because he is from Prentisstown. This quarrel is broken up when they made an agreement that the three will help them fight the army. When the sounds of the approaching army became noticeable right after, the three use the confusion to escape. After gaining some distance, Ben explains the truth: the Noise germ was a natural part of the planet, not an attack by the Spackle. The men of Prentisstown, driven mad by Noise and resenting the women's ability to remain silent, killed the women and were subsequently banished from the rest of the world for this crime. The boys were supposed to learn a "version of the truth" on their thirteenth birthday. This is why Todd has been sent away - he could only be accepted by the rest of the world if his thoughts were wholly innocent.
Ben, Todd, and Viola continue toward Haven, but Prentiss Jr. finds them again. Ben distracts him to allow Todd and Viola to run, but then the two run into Aaron. Aaron corners them in a cavern near a waterfall.
Todd then realizes that the boys of Prentisstown become 'men' by killing someone upon turning thirteen. Aaron thinks of himself as a symbolic sacrifice for the 'last boy' in Prentisstown and tries to provoke Todd into killing him. Instead, Viola kills Aaron. She explains that this way, Todd does not let the Prentisstown ritual have power over him.
Prentiss Jr. again intercepts the pair on their way to Haven and shoots Viola through her stomach. Todd escapes him and carries a dying Viola to Haven to try to find help. However, Mayor Prentiss is already there to greet them; Haven having surrendered without a fight, the Mayor to declares himself President of New World. Through his despair, Todd realizes that he can not hear the Mayor's Noise. Todd also surrenders himself so that Viola can get the care that she needs.
Todd Hewitt, Viola Eade, Manchee, Ben, Cillian, Aaron, Mayor/President Prentiss, Davy Prentiss Jr, Tam, Spackle, men of Prentisstown.