Thursday 14 June 2012

Book review : Unsceptered Isle : Three of a Kind - Joseph V. Sultana

As a book reviewer, I manage to get my hands on a large number of uncorrected proof copies so I'm quite used to coming across the odd typo or misprint when I'm reading. This is the first time that the huge number of mistakes in spelling, punctuation, grammar and sentence structure actually made me consider stopping reading though. In my day job, I'm a teacher and I had an almost irrepressible urge to grab my red pen and start correcting it as I read, because I had the feeling that I was reading a student's homework assignment ! What slightly perturbs me is that the copy I have doesn't actually say it's an uncorrected proof so if this is the way it's being sold, it's very sloppy.

But if you can get beyond the awkward sentence structure, nonsensical punctuation and innumerable grammatical errors, what do you actually have ? Well, the starting point of the novel is described in the prologue - the detonation of a bio-nuclear bomb at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games has wiped out almost every living thing in London. (I have to admit, this seemed to be in pretty bad taste to me, just weeks before the real Olympic Games kick off, especially as the mention of the Olympic Games seems totally superfluous and plays no part in the story whatsoever.) The dying city is sealed off with a wall and declared a forbidden zone (should we detect echoes of the Berlin Wall here ?), all the usual political allies turn their back on the UK, the French plug the Channel Tunnel with thick concrete, Scotland, Wales and even Cornwall become independent states and the Midlands becomes, I kid you not, an Islamic State. This all reads a bit like a B-movie script and doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of the plot.

Moving on from the prologue to the novel itself, it is a tale of a post-apocalyptic nation laid to waste, in total anarchy with the few survivors living in terror and poverty. It reminded me of various other novels I've read and reviewed here, including Justin Cronin's The Passage, Alex Scarrow's Afterlight, and many more. The  unfortunate residents of Launceston, on the border of England and Kernow (what used to be Cornwall), in this society gone to hell are controlled by sadistic Enforcers, who are themselves governed by the ruthless and vicious Russell Lattimer, whose severe psoriasis seems to be an external representation of his inner decay.

While I felt that some of the violent scenes were justified in order to portray the horror of the Enforcers' attacks, I did feel that the author went a bit over the top in showing women being defiled time and time again and some of the more graphic scenes seemed a bit gratuitous. The book does have its merits though and I think it could be made into quite a reasonable, if not highly original, novel with some efficient editing and a team of proof-readers.

star rating : 2.5/5

RRP : £6.99

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Percy Publishing (17 Feb 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0957156804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957156807
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.8 x 2.4 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in : 

1 comment:

  1. Not so sure about this one. When you read I feel it has to either educate, be humorous or a story that you can get lost it. Don't think I will be buying this one - not enough of the 'feel good factor' here.


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