Compelling, chillingly plausible and a cracking good read if you like your English dystopia authentic and local and with a touch of Zamyatin and Orwell. I thought I spotted Manchester and York though am willing to be corrected – while the capital retains its name. Certainly the North of the book has resonances with its own former border history and reiving past and with the strength and courage of the those deemed to live in the outer reaches: those who, apparently, need pacifying and containing.
In an England hundred and fifty years hence, government and democracy hardly exist and Corporations have taken control by offering apparent freedom after the deposing of the Junta. The miles high sky-scraping blocks are run as self-contained and all-encompassing microcosms for the benefit of the companies that own them. Conformity is demanded and maintained with the threat of the world of warlords and chaotic subsistence-level living outside.
However, it seems, the propaganda inside the 'refuges' conceals what is actually going on. Jude is a great central character and the story of her journey and the cast of characters she meets kept me reading. Will her self-determination and independence of spirit survive the odds stacked against her?