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Hearing voices … the helpful kind?

September 25, 2018

Gemma Todd ©Walsall

The first in the Voices series, and also the first novel for librarian G. X. Todd, “Defender” is a ripping good yarn.  Set in the future, Earth is sparsely populated. Somehow, humans started hearing an ‘other’ voice in their heads, and the repercussions were fatal in a great many cases. No one knows exactly what these voices are, where they came from or how to get rid of them.  The ‘hearing’ are persecuted and hounded, even murdered, so most keep their voices a secret.

Pilgrim has been alone a long time – it’s safer that way because he has Voice.  But when passing through a small town, he meets sixteen-year-old Lacey.  She has been shielded from the trials of the last seven years by her Grandma, who passed away a few weeks ago and Lacey has decided it’s time to leave town. Pilgrim is beguiled into giving her a ride to the town her sister, brother-in-law and niece live in. Lacey hasn’t seen them for eight years but is hoping they have survived.

Along the way, they run into several groups of unkind people.  The first take pleasure in raping and torturing people – from that experience, Alex, a lone woman, joins their group.  Further up the road, they witness a car crash and death of a young woman, Red. Her last word is ‘defender’ – is that a warning, an instruction?  It soon turns out to be a warning when some sadistic men driving a car marked ‘defender’ capture them, and take them to their camp.  Alex becomes the plaything of the leader, while Lacey and Pilgrim are hard pushed to survive.  Can they escape? Will they be able to rescue Alex?  And most importantly, what does this group want from them?

This is a very accomplished book, with excellent character development. I can’t wait to pick up the story in the second novel ‘Hunted’.




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