In the very near future, the military controls the UK. Media is censored, movement monitored and re-education and repatriation are the orders of the day.
Suze, Jake and Brian are young journalists; running an online news channel, they live on their wits and try to keep a very low profile. They are not sure why, but New Dawn, the feared security force, is closing in on them â€“ and they run.
Running is difficult when youâ€™ve no idea whom you can trust, and thereâ€™s a trail of destruction in your wake. This tight trio starts to crumble and suddenly the hunt becomes personal as well as political. Is knowledge power? Or will it be their downfall? Either way, their lives head inevitably to retributionâ€¦
This debut from FJ Curlew comes with the tagline, ‘A love story in the time of turmoil’ and that’s exactly what it is. We’re ultimately left with two young and attractive – to us and to each other – protagonists, pulled apart by circumstance, and whether their paths will ever cross again is suddenly unlikely.
It’s also a political thriller, set in a dystopia that’s chillingly close to home, and alongside some good old-fashioned and fast-paced adventure.
Based on the blurb alone, To Retribution probably wouldn’t be my first choice, but thankfully, reviewing forces me out of my comfort zone. From a few pages in, I found myself zipping through the chapters, curious to see where the scenes would lead – and they went in a direction I certainly didn’t expect, until all the strands wove neatly together to a satisfying conclusion.
There were elements of coincidence, of being in the right place at the right time – ‘Do you believe in fate or coincidence?’ Suze herself is asked at one point – but not to the extent of spoiling the story. And the ‘twist’ (for want of a better word) by way of which Suze learns so much about herself, is at the core of the novel.
I read this as predominantly a Young Adult novel, but one that would equally appeal to older readers. Throughout, I felt that Suze and Jake came across as smart teenage students rather than professionals in their early twenties, but then again, I have a sneaking feeling that may well be a reflection of my age rather than theirs. Either way, they tell a good tale.
To Retribution is available from Amazon in paperback and eBook.
You can find Fiona on Twitter @FJCurlew or on her FB page here