My Review of Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

I gave Blackthorn 5*out of 5*

Book Description:

The UK, year 2139.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block, until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision, and promises to bring hope back to the people's lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift's spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor's loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder's message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

My Review:

This latest of Terry Tyler’s books, Blackthorn, follows on, years later, to the Project Renova series, but may also be read as a standalone. There are unobtrusive mentions of past characters, attributing family traits, situations and actions, but nothing that takes the reader away from this story.

Blackthorn is an overpopulated walled city of wide social divisions, rumblings of discontent, crimes and violence. But beyond those heavily guarded walls is a post-apocalyptic world of scattered settlements struggling to survive nature and vicious feral gangs of people. So leaving this city would be dangerous. Yet escape, in one way or another is a theme threaded throughout and is juxtaposed by the theme of control by the few over many.

As always, the story is character led; one of Terry Tyler’s great strengths. Characters the reader normally immediately likes (for me the personable Ryder Swift – ostensibly the saviour of the inhabitants of the city). A regular visitor to Blackthorn, he is a traveller who comes to look for work in the autumn and is a man admired and adored by the population. Or one the reader dislikes (for me Evie, whose opening dialogue gave me the feeling she was going to be trouble and bring disaster to all); crude, bored, defiant. 

How wrong could I have been?’ This is where this author can sideswipe the reader; first impressions go out of the window as she adds layers to her characters – and then unravels those layers to show true personalities.

 Good strong main characters: Ryder Swift, the Governor, Wolf North, Evie, Byron Lewis, August Hemsley are backed by a cast of equally strong minor characters: the hapless Jay, the young women who become Angels of The Light, tricked into becoming sex slaves, the inhabitants of the public houses.

Often, in all the characters, the internal dialogue is in complete contrast with the spoken. The reader is given an insight to the thoughts and plans that are the opposite of the words exchanged between them, adding to the tension as the plot progresses. Brilliant!!

Every sense is skilfully used in the descriptions of the slovenly public houses, of the living quarters, from Stinky Bottom to the comparative order of the shacks, to the castle. The portrayal of the fear and finality of the dank prison blocks is truly sinister; abject fear is drip- fed in each scene that it appears in the book.

I have long admired the writing style of Terry Tyler. Years ago I loved her contemporary fiction and when I discovered she had changed to dystopian genre I was disappointed. Not my thing, I thought. But she stayed true to her style; strong character driven plots and a strong sense of place.

Blackthorn is a dark book that disturbs in places; it becomes too real a view on what the world could easily become. But optimism frequently shines out in unexpected places and I was left hopeful that there would be a good future for Evie and Byron. But who knows…

I thoroughly recommend Blackthorn, it certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

 About the Author:

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty books available from Amazon, the latest being 'Blackthorn', set in a post apocalyptic England, 115 years in the future. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team.
Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.


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