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Lie of the Land by Michael F. Russell
  

Lie of the Land

Horror   Fantasy   Literary Fiction   Science Fiction   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £8.99

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A fascinating and disturbing premise that has the ability to swing a profound sledgehammer into your consciousness. Set in what feels like a very possible future, Carl is isolated in a remote Scottish village and finds himself mentally as well as physically detached and confined. It takes a little while to settle in to this story, to get used to the writing style and understand the world you are in; it is worth the wait though. Chapters are grouped into a time period and at first zigzag back and forwards in time. The initial feeling of dislocation feels quite deliberate, it helps you empathise and feel a connection with the village community. There is a vulnerability to Carl, and while he isn't particularly likeable, he is an intriguing and captivating character. As time passes and Carl begins to understand his surroundings we start to hear from other villagers and they add a shot of positiveness to proceedings. This intense exploration of human instinct and glimpse into an imagined world, is ultimately an interesting and thought-provoking read. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Kelly-Ann Semper - 'A well-written book that held my interest and left me wanting more.'
  • Angie Rhodes - '‘Lie of the Land’ is a great piece of writing, making you feel the characters’ isolation and loneliness.'
  • Susan Mooney - 'Futuristic thriller set in Scotland, in which the death & intrigue will captivate you. A superb read.'
  • Catherine Bryce - 'This thrilling book will grab and hold onto you as it unfolds its story- a gripping tale that must be read!!'
  • Lisa Hall –  'A highly original story, with an ending that evokes plenty of emotion, I recommend Lie of The Land to any reader who is looking for something a little bit unusual...'
  • Karen McIntosh - 'The writing was excellent and so brilliantly descriptive that I had no trouble becoming immersed in the tale...I can't wait for his next book.'
  • Sarah Musk - 'A fantastic debut novel set in a post-apocalyptic society.  Very astutely and sensitively written, I really hope there is a follow-up book.'
  • Pauline Braisher –  'This book is 1984 meets Lord of the Flies. Set in the near future in Scotland it weaves many threads – corruption, control, relationships, human behaviour, human frailty.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Gosh, what a most powerful and disturbing read – and oh so very credible.'
  • Jane Brown - 'I found the first few chapters difficult but was glad I persevered; the author has written an engaging debut novel...This is a truly original and unusual story from a promising author.'
  • Nickey Hawryszczuk - 'A post-apocalyptic story which was hard going but well worth the read eventually. It took me a while to get into but I am glad I finished it. It made me think...what if?'
  • Angela Rhodes - 'Michael F Russell's book, holds the reader mesmerized, with his dark yet compelling look at a future...'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'Different, interesting, undoubtedly well written and maybe possible.'  
  • Alison Bisping - 'Futuristic, even slightly, isn't my normal choice of style and topic and probably because of that I found it a tough read.'
  • Bev Farningham - 'It took a bit of getting into, as not my usual type of book, but glad I persevered.'

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Synopsis

Lie of the Land by Michael F. Russell

Investigative journalist Carl Shewan lives in a world controlled by terror. Part of a dying breed, trapped under the heel of the oppressive CivCon regime, he and his colleagues are slowly being pushed to the margins as they struggle against a government that will tolerate no challenge to its absolute authority. When an informant summons him to the Highland town of Inverlair with information on the mysterious new communications system, S.C.O.P.E, Carl thinks he might finally be onto something. Not long after he arrives, however, the system is activated ...with catastrophic results. Imprisoned in this remote refuge by a technological catastrophe for which he feels partly responsible, Carl struggles to adapt to impending fatherhood and to a harsh new existence in an ancient landscape, until a childless gamekeeper offers him an alternative to guilt and alienation. Set in the near future, Lie of the Land examines the claustrophobia of small-town life and questions how far the state will go to preserve an orderly society, one in which ubiquitous surveillance has reduced human life to a virtual experience.

Reviews

'Despite the horrors that slowly, slyly emerge, there are also passages of genuine beauty ... announces a talent to be followed closely' - Stuart Kelly

'Lie of the Land is greater than the sum of its possible parts, and those parts might be 1984, Lord of the Flies, and Under the Dome' - Shoreline of Infinity

'Michael F Russell has delivered an intriguing, thought-provoking and immensely readable book' - Roger Hutchinson

About the Author

Michael F. Russell

Michael F. Russell grew up on the Isle of Barra before leaving to study Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow, followed by a postgraduate diploma in Journalism Studies at the University of Strathclyde. He is deputy editor at the West Highland Free Press and writes occasionally for the Sunday Herald. His writing has appeared in Gutter, Northwords Now and Fractured West. He lives on Skye with his partner and two children.

Below is a Q&A with this author

1. Do you have a favourite character in the book? I guess George, as he is doing his best for those around him - the wider community - even though he is grieving for his wife.

2. What was your inspiration to write this story? Was there a particular moment of inspiration that pushed you to write this? I have always had a fascination for Armageddon, whether in literature or film. I wanted to devise one myself, based on human technology rather than something more conventional, and haphazard, such as an asteroid strike or plague.

3. What is your favourite scene or moment in the book? It would have to be the conversation Carl and Isaac have in the final part. It's touching the way they have become so familiar with each other: the boy's confusions about the process of butchering a deer, and Carl's realisation that Isaac will probably never see somewhere like Oxford.

4. What inspired you to become a writer? No single event or experience, just a feeling that it was something I could do and wanted to do. However, over the last few years it dawned on me that becoming a published writer would take a huge amount of hard work. There's no short-cut; you have to learn the craft, and that means being not very good for a long time. I am still learning the craft and will continue to learn.

5. What keeps you motivated as a writer? The thought of not doing it.

6. What’s your favourite book, and why? This is impossible to answer. I can name a few authors - David Mitchell, Philip K Dick, Neil M Gunn, Margaret Atwood, Thomas Hardy and James Kelman - but to elevate a single book above all others would leave me with no finger nails and no hair.

7. Do you have a routine when you’re writing (i.e. silence, a particular genre of music, only working in the morning, only working in your underpants?) I prefer to have contemporary music playing - Death in Vegas, Richard Hawley, Orbital, Smoke Fairies, or similar - and to remain fully clothed. I've tried writing in the morning but I find evening works best. If I'm ever lucky enough to become a full-time writer of fiction I would try to keep regular afternoon hours. I am not a morning person.

8. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a writer? Write as often as you can. Read as much as you can. And never give up, no matter how many rejections you receive.

9. How easy was it for you to find a publisher? Easier than swallowing a whole coconut.

10. What’s the best experience you’ve had while writing a book? When the first draft flows and every word seems to be exactly the right one. Those times of total immersion do not last long.

11. Who are you generally writing for? Someone quite like me.

12. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? An unhappier person.

13. What one thing would improve your life? More time in which to write.

14. Where would you like to be right now, anywhere in the world? I am where I am. The grass is seldom greener elsewhere.

15. Are any or your characters based on yourself or people you know? I think all characters in fiction contain elements of both the author and the people he knows or has known. It can be no other way, I suppose.

16. If you could swap lives with one of your characters, who would you choose and why?Given the grim scenario I have constructed in Lie of the Land, I'd like to stay right where I am, please!

17. Have you ever regretted how you ended a story and wish you could change it? You can always find changes in a piece of published fiction. I have trained myself not to think like that - there's no point. It only causes frustration.

18. If you weren't a writer, what would your 'dream' occupation be? I am currently a journalist, but I once harboured dreams of being an astronomer, also an archaeologist.

19. If your book was a film, who would you cast for the lead character? A younger version of Robert Carlyle.

20. Why are books important in your opinion? Novels, as opposed to non-fiction, are a means of exposing and exploring deep human truths. Such a practice will always be important.

21. What are you reading right now? Iain M Banks' Surface Detail and Why Scottish Philosophy Matters by Alexander Broadie.

22. Which authors do you particularly admire? See above.

23. If you had a superpower what would it be? The power to make people in a particular situation or setting forget I ever existed.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th June 2016

Author

Michael F. Russell

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Publisher

Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General

Format

Paperback
304 pages

Categories

Horror
Fantasy
Literary Fiction
Science Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction

ISBN

9781846973604

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