I do not habitually seek out novels with a political flavour, let alone a terrorist one, but some sixth sense, some instinct, kicked in here and I found myself requesting a copy. As Obi Wan Kenobi said to Luke Skywalker,’Your instinct serves you well.’ I am so glad I did. This was an amazing read. It's one of those books that you continue to think about long after you've finished reading it.
Not for the fainthearted it pulls a punch that has you open mouthed in disbelief. But more than that it is a chilling reminder of what can happen and what probably is happening as we speak, if not in this country then elsewhere in the world.
Set in an almost future but not very removed from our today three friends find their world turned upside down. Amala is a Muslim although less than devout, a technology wizard and alternative comedian, Ella, a journalist following a couple of stories, on the verge of one she believes is big and Millie, an academic, bohemian and an expert in radicalisation. Friendships and secrets. Families and trust. No spoilers here so that’s all I’ll say as far as the story line goes.
Most of the action takes place during the day of May 25th from 06:30 until 17:44. it’s tense, shocking, nail biting, compelling reading. The rest of the narrative paints the scene from ten days previously and about ten days afterwards together with past flashbacks allowing us to see the progress of the friendships and relationships of these three women. There are other significant characters and their stories unfold along the way.
The writing is taut, economic, yet detailed where it needs to be. The author seems to have an ability to get into the minds of some diametrically opposed people and their ideologies that ensnares the reader and enables us to engage fully with what unfolds. It’s edge of the seat stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on either the big or small screen.
It’s highly contemporary and the research takes this novel to just past fiction into a realism that sends chills through you. It’s not an easy read or an uplifting read but it is an important read for it examines religion, radicalisation, corruption, politicians and what can happen when you mix it all up. It’s an intelligent thriller and I can hardly believe that it is a debut novel!! I am so impressed with it. I want this book to be successful. It deserves nothing less.
Thanks to Urbane Publications for sending me a copy.