Do you ever start reading a book which looks intriguing, find it surprisingly hard work at first, and then get completely drawn in? That’s exactly what happened to me with Pelagia.
I used to read a lot of science fiction and this book reminds me why, with its oceanic world which is so expansively and compellingly described. For me, the ocean region of Pelagia and the nomadic vessel Osse and the family it carries are the real stars and points of difference of this book.
Steve Holloway has created a book which is as much a thriller as it is science fiction. Set in the near future, we meet Ben Holden, ex Special Forces, who is the key to unlocking information needed by the deadly New Caliphate who will stop at nothing to find him. Ben’s past has been traumatic, and as he begins to recover he will need to learn who he can trust. And perhaps even love.
This is a book which really feels like something different: fresh, beautifully written and immersive both in subject and engagement. It portrays good and evil very clearly, and the people within its covers are interesting and believable, with faith elements which are also interesting and believable. This is certainly not a cosy mystery. The thriller elements aren’t watered down. A genuine page-turner, it is well worth persevering with if you too find the beginning a bit hard going. I would love to read another novel set in Pelagia.
9781782643395, Lion Fiction, Jun21
Note: for transparency, I was sent an advance copy of this book, but I was not required to write any specific or favourable review. All views herein are my own.