Review published on August 2, 2017.
This is a thrilling tale about what happens when society collapses. It is the third in a series and I have read the first one , A Lovely Way to Burn, which was terrifying. It is not necessary to have read the previous books to enjoy this one.
A plague, the ‘sweats’ has killed most of the UK population. Stevie Flint, the heroine, survived the illness and is now living in Orkney with a handful of other survivors. She is the president of this community and has to take action after a brutal double murder and the disappearance of some island children. She and her friend Magnus set off on a quest to find justice, and the children.
Children are a very important part of the story. They are the next generation and will have to keep the human race going.
Louise Welsh has created a marvellous picture of what might happen easily and quickly, and she is able to show a group of people living off the land and on their wits. Animals are still alive, there are fish in the sea, but life is tough.
Freezers have failed as there is no electricity and tin openers are prized possessions. Whoever controls fuel for vehicles, controls everything.
Politics and the whole system of government has to begin again. Who leads? Who follows? Who has power? Soon there are tribes and hierarchies and Orkney seems a good place to be.
Stevie and Magnus travel to Glasgow, which is now full of feral dogs and terrifying, power-crazy individuals. This was the most horrific part of the book for me.
There are echoes here of The Road by Cormac McCarthy , where a father and son seem alone in a barren wasteland, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood, where child-bearing women are currency.
Louise Welsh manages to show how a society can break down and rebuild in an unsensational way. She has created believable characters and situations and it is a novel that does make you think about survival and the human spirit.
Dorothy Anderson 5/5
No Dominion by Louise Welsh
John Murray 9781848546578 hbk Jul 2017