Title: The Captive by Fiona King Foster
Genre: Dystopian, Suspense
Length: 266 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A rural noir about a woman on a pulse-pounding expedition to deliver a fugitive—and forced to confront her own past on the journey
In a secessionist rural state that has cut itself off completely from urban centers, where living is hardscrabble and poor but “free,” Brooke Holland runs a farm with her husband, Milo, and two daughters. Their life at the fringes of modern society is tenuous—they make barely enough from each harvest to keep going—yet Brooke cherishes the loving, peaceful life they have carved out for themselves. She has even begun to believe she is free from the violent history she has kept a secret from her family.
When escaped criminal Stephen Cawley attacks at the farm, Brooke’s buried talents surface, and she manages to quickly and harshly subdue him. She is convinced that he has come in retribution for the blood feud she thought she escaped years ago. Brooke sets out to bring Cawley to justice, planning to use the bounty on his head to hide her family far from danger. Fearing that other members of Cawley’s infamous family will soon descend, Brooke insists Milo and the girls flee with her, travelling miles on foot across an unforgiving landscape to reach the nearest marshal. Their journey, started at the onset of winter with little preparation, brings already strained family dynamics to the breaking point. As Brooke’s ghosts—both real and imagined—close in, the ruthlessness that let her survive her past may become the biggest threat to her hopes for a different future. What follows is a harrowing exploration of family loyalty, trauma, and resilience.
As haunting and propulsive as it is powerfully written, The Captive is a thrilling debut novel about the impossible choices we make to survive and protect the ones we love.
The Captive by Fiona King Foster is a fast-paced dystopian novel that is quite suspenseful.
When Brooke recognizes the man in a wanted poster during a rare trip to town, she is certain her past has caught up with her. Hoping she will escape Stephen Cawley’s attention, she leaves her husband Milo behind while she travels back to their farm to ensure their daughters are safe. When Stephen finds her, she, Milo, thirteen year old Holly and eight year old Sal make the arduous trek to turn him in for the reward money. Battling the elements and her memories, Brooke keeps her worries to herself on their journey. How will Milo react when he learns the truth about her past?
Brooke’s family eventually fell on hard times after they were major players in the secession from the government. She tries to protect her younger brother from their father’s wrath and she eventually manages to escape. With plans to move farther away, Brooke instead falls in love with Milo and convinces him to move from town. Never truly expecting her past to catch up with her, she reacts without thinking when Stephen shows up on their farm.
Still hoping to keep her past a secret, Brooke does not tell Milo or their daughters anything as they urgently set out on their trip. She knows the reward money will keep them going but she also wants to ensure Stephen cannot do any harm to her or her family. Their journey is fraught with tension as they try to skirt other settlements in order to avoid trouble. In addition, Stephen is not exactly cooperative since he has no intention of being turned over to the federal authorities. With the weather conditions worsening, will Brooke and her family survive their increasingly dangerous journey?
The Captive is an atmospheric novel with a clever plot and well-drawn characters. The truth about Brooke’s past gradually emerges through a series of intriguing flashbacks. With a sense of danger permeating the family’s grueling journey, Fiona King Foster brings this outstanding debut to an edge of the seat conclusion.