To Retribution by F.J. Curlew

The military is in control. Tight control. Media is censored, movement restricted. There are re-education camps for trouble makers, repatriation camps for non-nationals. 

Jake, Brian and Suze, three idealistic young journalists, are used to hiding as they try to keep their online news channel open. They publish the truth about the repatriations, the corruption and the deceit.
 New Dawn, the feared security force, is closing in yet again. The trio run, yet again. This time, however, they are pursued with a relentlessness, a brutality which seems far too extreme for their 'crimes.' 

A trail of death is left in their wake as they try to escape New Dawn and find out what is really behind this hunt. They are drawn into a web of human trafficking, child abuse and murder. Only it's closer than they think. Much closer. 
Who would you trust when there's no going back?

My Thoughts:

First off all I am going to be honest and say that I stepped out of my comfort zone when I chose to read this book. However I do like to read widely and in different genres, and I am glad that I gave this book a chance.

Set in Britain in a indeterminate time in the not too distant future, this book is an examination of what it would be like if the military were to take over. It also shows the consequences of this and the imagined world that this change of leadership would represent. 

Now you might be forgiven that this slightly dystopian future that is presented in this story would be impossible, but the story took on a certain plausibility and I could certainly buy into many aspects of the plot. 

I am the person who hasn't made it past Chapter 8 of 1984 by George Orwell as I was too scared by the prediction of it all. So I am surprised I managed to read all of this without running away.

The story tackles a number of political and social issues some of which are commonplace even in the current times. The author has created a solid set of characters and created a landscape that is well imagined. I found the story to be thrilling and found myself turning the pages faster and faster to reach the conclusion. 

My favourite character is Ranulf although it is in question as to whether this is his real name. Ranulf played an instrumental part in the story and he basically lives a nomadic and self sufficient lifestyle. He fends for and depends on himself, he is strong and independent and he has a good heart. I admired his qualities, he was a refreshing change against the brutal landscape and gave others characters reason to hope and reasons to survive.

I would recommend this book if you like political thrillers but also if you want to have your thoughts provoked by current issues and issues that could occur in the future. An original, well written book with an intriguing plot. 

I would like to welcome Fiona to the blog today, she has answered a few questions and given a bit more of an insight into her writing. Thank you for stopping by and I wish you every success with the book. 

1)      Where is your favourite place to write and is there any particular time that works better for you?

In my head it's a remote cottage on the wild, windswept, highland coast of Scotland. Rain lashes against the windows as I snuggle in a huge armchair beside a roaring log fire. In reality it's a pile of cushions in the corner of my bedroom, for possession of which I have to wrestle with my dogs and cat!
I always write in the afternoons.

2)      Where did the idea for To Retribution come from?

It began as a short story, 'Catharticism', which I wrote for my Open University course. I had remembered getting a lift, many moons ago, from a man who was giving up a successful corporative life to go and live in the middle of nowhere with some goats. I played with the character, imagined what might make someone drop out like that. I moved him to the future and set him down in a dark Britain where the military had taken control. In the story I had him giving a lift to an escapee political prisoner. People liked it, as did I. I took on board the suggestion of expanding it into a novel,  played with some characters, took them on a walk, brought in some contemporary issues, thoroughly enjoyed it. 'To Retribution' was born.

3)      Are there any Characters that you would like to develop further in future, or a particular theme you would like to write about?

Oh...big question! I have toyed with that since I finished writing 'To Retribution'. I like the military coup being in Britain, challenging that 'it couldn't happen here' thinking. Lots of scope which I may well use again. I have had people ask about a sequel but didn't want to restrict myself like that; become an author who wrote slightly dystopian political books. There were other ideas, a multitude of them, which have been spinning around in my head. I've lived in so many places, seen so many things - plenty more to write about!
As for the characters? Yes. I think Ranulf has a lot of potential and I really enjoyed getting inside his head. I may visit him again.

4)      Are you currently writing anything else?

Yes. If I am not writing these days there's just something very integral missing from my life. I am working on a novel based in a fictitious war torn country. Present day mingled with history. It's a story about relationships, assumptions and strength. Overcoming a dark past... I write on the hoof so it may all change! 'To Retribution' is a no frills thriller. This novel is a slower affair.

5)      Which Writers inspire you?

So many...Andre Makine, Chris Cleave, Leif Davidsen, Stieg Larsson, Ian Rankin...

6)      Which book would you most likely give as a gift or recommend to other people?

It would depend very much on the people! I think my most recommended book has been 'McCarthy's Bar' by Pete McCarthy, simply because it had me in stitches. I think we all need to laugh a bit more.

7)      Could you share with us something that other people don’t necessarily know about you?

Sometimes when I walk along the shore, look out across the water, watch the birds dive and swoop, listen to the pebbles laughing as the waves tickle them back and forth, I cry. Just because it is so very good to be alive!

8)      If you could have written any book from the past, which would it be?

Right now, Makine's 'Unknown Man' - brilliant, heart wrenching, provocative. Of course, subject to change...

9)      What do you like to do in your spare time?

I go for monumentally huge dog walks. Serious withdrawal symptoms creep in if the weather is too foul for too long! It's also when I do my best creative thinking. I am an absolute musicaholic listening to everything from Mahler to The Real McKenzies, Brand New to Beethoven, with the ultimate treat being a live gig. I love watching football (big Heart of Midlothian fan!) - again, preferably live. I sometimes wonder what my neighbours must think - I am prone to vociferous excitement! Being in beautiful places with beautiful people is probably best of all. Oh, and reading, of course ;)

10)   Is there anything else you would like to add/discuss that I haven’t included?

I don't think so!

       Thank you!

About the Author:

Fiona dropped out of school aged 15, because being the consummate rebel, she hated it! After becoming a single parent she decided to return to education, graduating in 1996 with an honours degree in primary education. Ah, the irony! 
As soon as she graduated she packed everything she owned into her Renault 11, including her daughter, two dogs and a cat, and headed off to Estonia to become an international school teacher. After fifteen years of teaching, predominantly in Eastern Europe, she returned to the UK to focus on her writing.
She now lives on the east coast of Scotland with a rescued Ukrainian street mutt, a Scottish black lab and a Portuguese cat who doesn't like the weather!
'To Retribution' is her first novel.

You can find out more on her website, or find her on twitter @FJCurlew.

Her book is available now:

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