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What would you risk for the truth? The Source by Sarah Sultoon @SultoonSarah @OrendaBooks #Debut #TheSource

1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth ... and justice.

I’ve pulled a two in a row Orenda Books special on you haven’t I?! You are welcome! Today I’m thrilled to be reviewing one of Orenda Books 2021 debuts, that has been very kindly gifted to me by the publisher. The Source written by Sarah Sultoon. This shocking and relevant novel is due to be released in eBook format on the 15th of February, with the paperback following on the 15th of April. You can pre-order a copy here.

The source is a sizzling debut, which blurs the lines between the fiction and non fiction. Amongst the pages of this heart-wrenching read you’ll find threads of poverty, abuse and survival web together, themes that have been approached with such sensitivity creating a full picture without fully prying. This intense and powerful novel splits not only between two narratives, but it also ventures into two different timelines set 10 years apart. This format is done impeccably well, Sarah has managed to hold on to all the storyline threads without losing any. As the characters timelines become increasingly platted together, it makes you sit up that little bit straighter, opens your eyes a little bit more and in veils horrors of the world you wish you didn’t exist.

The character from 1996 is 13 year old schoolgirl Carly, who lives in a town dominated by a military base. Within a short life she’s experienced loss and being dragged to adulthood in order to care through mother and her young sister. I found that immediately I sympathise with her, her innocence has been stripped away for the sake of her family, caring for a young sibling while not having a ‘present’ parent. Carly’s experiences are horrific whereas Sarah doesn’t go into minute detail of the unravelling events psychologically you’re away of what’s going on between the words. You’ll find yourself swept away in a tide of emotions from Sarah’s writing and storytelling. Experiencing a Kaleidoscope of shock, horror, sadness and at times hope.

The Source is a portion of nail-gnawing fiction but what bubbles away below the surface of the experience of individuals who have become locked into a life of survival in the most monstrous of ways. As the storyline develops, we begin to learn the ties of coercion and the way in which it is used as a weapon. Sarah is a former CNN news executive and I feel this further contributes to the story’s execution in regards to the way she has approach research, fact checked and even written it, while also injecting emotion, developing three-dimensional characters. The source is a hard hitting, searing and sobering read that is filled with tension and is absolutely worth a spot on your tbr pile. I, for one will be looking forward to Sarah’s future works.

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