Orbit: Hachette. May 2018. 496p. ISBN 9780316316804. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316316781. SF
What is the value of a human life? Now that the English government has been privatized, all services monetized, prisons closed, and only people who can pay their way are able to move up, The Company uses Auditors such as Theo Miller to assess the exact value for crimes. If the perpetrators can pay, they go free; if not, it is into forced labor for The Company. Theo is content in his job, until a woman from the time before he was Theo returns with a tale of a lost daughter, his lost daughter, and corruption that could shake The Company to the ground. Now the man known as Theo, who once held a different name, is on the run, finally seeing the truth behind the slave-state of The Company. As he tries to find his daughter, to save his own life, and solve a murder, Theo also must find out who he really is.
VERDICT North (The Sudden Appearance of Hope) has captured the horror of capitalism without empathy. Her prose style, dreamlike and full of unfinished thoughts and rambling sentences, is distracting enough that it might dissuade people from finishing the novel. But if readers can overcome the unusual style, the dense slow-to-start plot carries through to the end. [See Prepub Alert, 11/21/17.]
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