Civilisation is collapsing. Frustrated and angry after years of denial and inaction, a ‘government of youth’ has taken power in North America, and deemed all those older than a prescribed age responsible for the current state of the world, and decreed they should be ‘relocated’, their property and assets confiscated.
David Ashworth, known by his friends and students as Teacher, and his wife May, find themselves among the thousands being moved to ‘new accommodation’ in the abandoned southern deserts – thrown together with a wealthy industrialist and his wife, a high court lawyer, two recent immigrants to America, and a hospital worker. Together, they must come to terms with their new lives in a land rendered unrecognisable.
As the terrible truth of their situation is revealed, lured by rumours of a tropical sanctuary where they can live in peace, they plan a perilous escape. But the world outside is more dangerous than they could ever have imagined. And for those who survive, nothing will ever be the same again…
Hi and welcome to my review of The Forcing!
I do love a good dystopian story – even if my actual life has felt quite dystopian for the last three years or so – especially when the author chooses a trigger that is already present in life as we know it and runs with it. Added brownie points for any kind of journey or quest involved. Clearly, The Forcing ticked all my boxes!
Paul E. Hardisty sees the climate crisis and the young people who are dissatisfied and very outspoken about it, and fast-forwards to a world where the planet has been all but destroyed and a new generation has risen to power, blaming the older generations for all that’s wrong with the world. As such, people born before a certain date are “relocated” (read: deported) and put in what are essentially concentration camps.
Valid points are raised, making the story extremely plausible and therefore highly thought-provoking (even without taking into consideration that whopper of a final reveal). However, that sense of realness is never to the detriment of the entertainment value. After all, there is a main character, David – Teacher – Ashworth, to follow on a journey through a hard-knock world and to root for along the way, while a rather vile antagonist, as well as hardship and peril, complicate things for him. Root for Teach I did, while grinding my teeth at a few others.
The Forcing is a riveting and suspenseful dystopian thriller / drama that proved very hard to put down. The story is both a reality check and completely absorbing fiction, speaking of cold harsh facts but also of love, endurance and hope. Paul E. Hardisty has a way with words that never fails to blow me away, spot-on and occasionally rather poetic, yet never even remotely close to purple prose.
I had the best time with The Forcing, it truly is an incredible read, and if haunting dystopian tales are your bag, I know you will love it too. Highly recommended.
The Forcing is out in digital formats and paperback on 16 February. Preorder it directly from Orenda Books here.
Massive thanks to Orenda Books for the eARC. All opinions are my own.