01/09/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: TOR/Forge. 366 page hardback. Price: $25.95 (US), $28.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-2161-9.
check out website: www.tor-forge.com
Kit Reed's 'Enclave' is to my mind a bit of an odd book. About a hundred teen-age children picked by wealth or status and, to the most part, bad eggs, are chosen to be locked away in an isolated converted monastery with a team of teachers under a military command as the Earth falls to a variety of catastrophes. The adult staff don't appear that hot neither. I mean, would you have selected an alcoholic doctor or a computer programmer up for criminal charges, let alone tutor who were clearly not up to the task?
Reading the blurb, you could easily mistake this story to a 'Lord Of The Flies' variant. It isn't. The regimented doctrine and isolation from the outside makes it more into one of those American boot camps for wayward kids if anything. Things take a tumble when a couple of the teens trying to access the outside via the computers accidentally infect the system with a virus and the staff programmer goes missing.
Those cliffs are a long drop. The other major problem with everyone locked up together is how quickly an infection can spread in such an isolated place and how everyone coped.
'Enclave' is told from a variety of viewpoints so you get the complete picture and allows its author to play up the different characters. That would be fine if they all interacted together but the cross and match doesn't happen very often and far too much is left up in the air in the end as to their various fates. Occasionally, I did wonder if Kit Reed changed her mind about where things were going or pulled back to streamline towards the end.
This isn't a bad book but I suspect it'll have to be left to the individual reader to make of it what they will. Certainly, if you were going to select people to survive a catastrophe then you would use this book as a template for what not to do.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA