It gives me great pleasure to be on the blog tour today for the first instalment of The Laurie Sterne Trilogy, ‘The Black Ditch’ by Simon Lancaster. Thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the tour, and to the author for the copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. To take part in an exciting giveaway, please see below!
What’s it about?
LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.
This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.
In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?
There is a whole raft of climate change literature for us to read, in a final plea for drastic action to reduce our impact. Children’s books are tackling the same issue in a more age appropriate way.
Simon J Lancaster’s ‘The Black Ditch’ stands out as an eminently possible, post-democracy dystopian thriller, set in London, beginning in 2025, with most of the fast-paced action taking place in 2050.
Climate change has had a devastating effect on not only the physical environment, but on the population, which has burgeoned under the weight of climate refugees, stretching resources and government well beyond their limits. Gangs and Big Brother style government dictate life in the old capital.
Laurie Sterne runs with a gang, whose leader is seeking legitimacy. Sterne is a well-developed character, and as we start by being introduced to him in childhood, during a most traumatic episode, our sympathy is always with him and so, 25 years later when everything is going awry, we worry about him. The fact that he has managed to survive seems nothing short of a miracle, but he has a useful gift. Which is certainly not enough to keep him out of harm’s way.
The writing style and imagery are great. Mostly short, snappy sentences capture the tense, violent, quickly changing scenarios. The author clearly knows London intricately, and the action ricochets through the city, almost as quickly as the gunfire. We are treated to multi layered characters with complex motivations, and with a plot which thickens further every page, there are several branches this story could expand upon in the sequel. Very exciting!
Thrilling, intriguing, tense, violent and disconcertingly plausible. Extremely well written with great dialogue sequences. Comes very highly recommended from me. A great read – my husband is going to love this!
To buy a copy, please click one of the following purchase links:
About the author:
Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers.
Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot.
He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.
To connect with Simon:
For a chance to win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and to have your name used as a character in the sequel, please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!!! (open internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
As usual, this is a blog tour, and there will be many unique perspectives to read about The Black Ditch. Please take a look at the tour banner for all the bloggers involved.