October Song, by Ru Pringle, is a dark and grim thriller set about 25 years into the future. After Scottish independence, followed by eight years of reunification with the UK, there are still angry separatists demanding independence. During this renewed attempt at independence, the government struggles with refugee immigration issues, terrorism, and corrupt officials.
Decorated police officer, Coira Keir, is in Edinburgh, outside the offices of the North British Council, once known as the Scottish Parliament, when there is a devastating bomb attack. She suddenly realizes she is a suspect in the bombing, and drives away, but flips her car. She finds herself coming upon a fierce battle, and steals a kayak belonging to a man killed in the fight.
From then on, Coira is a fugitive in what becomes a never-ending, life-threatening chase scene taking her far into the Scottish Isles. There she encounters armed immigrants, as well as the terrorists they had fled in their home countries, pirates, and Russian mobsters. Somehow, Coira manages stay a step or two ahead of her pursuers, and even finds a few hours of respite here and there.
As a public health educator, I particularly enjoyed Pringle’s comment on tobacco use when one of his characters “…studies her cigarette….” then mutters, “This really is a nasty habit.” Another character looks at his cigarette in disgust, flips it away, and comments, “I was right to give these up”.
The book makes clear statements about the effects of climate change, and explores the monetary reasons large companies continue exploiting the planet. He doesn’t let the consumer off the hook, though, saying, “We liked the lifestyle these companies were selling us, so we chose to ignore the warning.” He also reminds us of our tendency to do what his character calls “subjective validation” which he describes “…subconsciously cherry-picking information to support an existing belief….”
Pringle’s character development is superb, and the action never stops. The violence and dark nature of October Song are more than I bargained for, but those who enjoy this genre will most definitely enjoy October Song.
What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
Consistently using the word “further” in place of “farther” – they are not interchangeable. Misplacement of the word “only” within sentences – we all do it when speaking, but in writing, it is more noticeable. An occasional dangling sentence, and missing commas.