Lie of the Land

by Michael F. Russell

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Fantasy Horror Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Science Fiction

LoveReading View on Lie of the Land

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

Lie of the Land Synopsis

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.

Lie of the Land 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.'

Lie of the Land Press 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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781846973604
Publication date: 16/06/2016
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781846973192
Publication date: 19/05/2015
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846973604
Publication date: 16th June 2016
Author: Michael F. Russell
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 304 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Fantasy, Horror, Literary Fiction, Science Fiction,
Categories: Historical fiction,

About 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 ...

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