Monday, 2 July 2012

A Deserted Place - FM Batchelor

Blurb taken from Amazon.com: "Liberty has collapsed, fallen, succumbed to those who sought its demise from the outset. Yet, a glimmer of hope comes hurling toward us, cast from decades in the future, after nuclear Armageddon, economic collapse and the second American Civil War. Hope comes from a new generation of Americans, like those before, who have had their lives cast into history and amidst the struggle between good and evil. David the tortured genius, overcomes his plague-ridden face and the misdeeds of his nemesis Owens Barre and the sexual manipulation of Naomi to become a vehicle for revolution. He teams with Luke and Ariel (his beautiful infatuation) to help start a new generation away from a contaminated and controlled populace. Rife with symbolism of today's world, it is through the unveiling of the characters' lives and struggles that we learn about ourselves and how the deserted place lying within all of us is our true demon, our most dangerous enemy. Our divisions are toxic; “In humanity is unity.” "

Classed as a historical, literary novel,  A Deserted Place is a complex story of how human civilization seemingly doesn't learn from its past. In what is sometimes a confusing story line, David is the key to inoculation from a bovine plague started in 2050. The plot line wavers from this particular story to the detailed history of Ariel's great grandfather, Robbins and his impact on American history plus a few other characters whose lives eventually impact that of David, Luke and Ariel.

Set in a post Armageddon America, the east coast is devastated yet the west coast remain's practically unscathed. The east makes it's own rules as the dollar no longer exists and the people who have survived go back to the colonial methods of their ancestors. The author makes references's to World War II, Pearl Harbor as well as the more recent Iraqi war using them as to why a nuclear attack took place on America. Is it possible for David to uncover the truth behind the outbreak and start anew?

Overall, I struggled with this novel. There were large sections that detracted from the main story - if David and Owens are the main story. I feel that the author has written two books here - an anthology and political comment on America's history- past and future; and then a narrative on the characters. The back and forth from 2065 to 2044, then 2010/12 and back to 2065 caused a certain amount of confusion and my struggle. However, it's a well written book. Batchlor is eloquent in his descriptions and creates vivid images - seawater from Maine becoming rainwater took four paragraphs - and the characters are well defined - David likable, Owens easy to dislike.

Whilst I found it difficult to follow, I would urge anyone with a love of history and futurists to read this as I may well have missed the point of what is a well executed story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique. 

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