Published: February 16th, 2023
Genre: Suspense, Dystopian Fiction, Science Ficiton, Political Fiction, Adventure Fiction
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this atmospheric, powerful and unforgettable novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Karen at Orenda for the ARC.
Lured by rumours of tropical sanctuary, a disparate group of men and women escape their inhospitable exile to seek freedom, in a near future where civilisation has collapsed … A cataclysmic, clarion-call climate-change thriller from one of the world’s leading environmental scientists…
‘Hardisty is a fine writer’ Lee Child
Civilisation is collapsing. Frustrated and angry after years of denial and inaction, a ‘government of youth’ has taken power in North America, and deemed all those older than a prescribed age responsible for the current state of the world, and decreed they should be ‘relocated’, their property and assets confiscated.
David Ashworth, known by his friends and students as Teacher, and his wife May, find themselves among the thousands being moved to ‘new accommodation’ in the abandoned southern deserts – thrown together with a wealthy industrialist and his wife, a high court lawyer, two recent immigrants to America, and a hospital worker. Together, they must come to terms with their new lives in a land rendered unrecognisable.
As the terrible truth of their situation is revealed, lured by rumours of a tropical sanctuary where they can live in peace, they plan a perilous escape. But the world outside is more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. And for those who survive, nothing will ever be the same again…
“This is the story of how I came to be here, so far from what I used to call home, and those who shared my journey. I have tried to record it faithfully, as truly as memory allows. Some moments remain as indelible scars, despite my best attempts to forget. Others are fading even now. And parts of the story, I fear, will never be revealed.”
David Armstrong, a scientist and teacher better known as ‘Teach’ to his friends and family, is looking back at what happened when the world fell apart. The younger generation has taken power in an attempt to save what is left of civilisation. Among their new policies is one of institutionalised ageism that sees all those of a prescribed age and above being forced to relocate as punishment for what is seen as their role in the destruction of the planet. Teach and his wife May are among the thousands relocated to ‘new accommodation’ in the desert. Given just one case each and two days’ notice, they pack up what they can and begin their journey to an unknown future.
When they arrive it is immediately clear that what was promised will not be delivered, starting with forcing them into a shared apartment with five other people instead of the house they were expecting. Their new home is unorganised and so overcrowded that people are sleeping in corridors. Food and water is scarce and they face long days of hunger and thirst as they work the mandatory six days a week for the government. But it is only after witnessing a brutal crime by two of the guards that Teach really begins to understand the danger they are in. And so begins a story of their fight to survive against the odds in a world that wants to see them pay the ultimate price for their sins.
“Some things you never forget. The surroundings might fade, the faces blur, the circumstances of weather and place and time dissolving away as the decades pass. But other, seemingly random details somehow remain immune to the ravages of time and distance, and conscious, destructive will.”
I have no idea how to review this book. Atmospheric, haunting, and powerful, this is an absolute masterpiece. Although it is marketed as a “clarion-call climate-change thriller”, it almost defies genre, being in a box all of its own. From the first pages I was awe-struck and hypnotised by the breathtaking beauty of what I was reading. Hardisty’s writing melts off the page. His poetic, intricate prose is acutely observed and there is a real talent to being able to write so delicately yet with such power. Taking us to some unsettling places, he transports us into the forbidding future he has created. Quietly terrifying yet intriguing, this was impossible to put down.
Told in two timelines over seven parts, it moves between the harrowing events of that turbulent time to his present, where he is reflecting on what happened and pouring out his heart for his children, grandchildren and future generations. As we slowly unwrap the layers of his story, there is a melancholy woven into the pages that pierces your heart. The heartbreak on the pages is mixed with guilt and regret, the emotion so palpable you feel it in your own chest. Each of the characters are compelling and richly drawn and I found myself rooting for them, even Teach’s bitter wife, May, and the villainous Ardent, though I did find them hard to like.
A thought-provoking and unforgettable story of the best and worst of humanity, and a warning call to all of us, The Forcing is one not to miss.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent twenty-five years working all over the world as an environmental scientist and freelance journalist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a in 1993, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen at the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). The four novels in his Claymore Straker series, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, The Evolution of Fear, Reconciliation for the Dead and Absolution, all received great critical acclaim and The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger and a Telegraph Book of the Year. Paul drew on his own experiences to write Turbulent Wake, an extraordinary departure from his high-octane, thought-provoking thrillers. Paul is a keen outdoorsman, a conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.
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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx
Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.
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