The future often seems tied to peace and the efforts we make to develop such an accord. Fantasy novels often take us in varying directions, revealing a future world where in some cases a utopia occurs or in others where the end of the world is the outcome. Each novel identifies the aftermath in various ways.
In Drayling by Terry J. Newman, we follow an extremely interesting scenario, where peace did reign supreme. Drayling, an area in Britain–in the future–is a peaceful and interesting place to live. Each of the area governments has their own part in making the transition smooth and to continue success. While a national government is in process, there are also groups of ordinary citizens that do their part to hold on to that success. Part of the success is that the differing areas do not communicate or compete thereby helping to continue in a peaceful existence. When the premier dies under suspicious circumstances, the death creates a change at the head of the national government that seems to change the way everything is being done, and secrecy seems to sneak into the fray. All of a sudden the local governments find their hands tied and uneasiness prevails.
Uri Graves is the local historian and recently became a Worthy, one of those consulted with questions. His intelligence is unquestionable and he is held in high regard by the townspeople as well as the other Worthies with whom he has become friends. His children are well adjusted and his son Marius has also been making a name for himself with his interest and studies.
When the changes to government begin to affect the lives of the people, first with the lies and then the disruption, the reprisal is not far behind. In an effort to make their concerns known, 16 young men are kille, by a security force that is unheard of in the world of Dunstan Heathfield, the founder of the utopia which now exists. His diplomacy achieved what violence could not. Now all of his teaching seemed to be set aside. Could a small group of ordinary people do what it took to protect their way of life? As they begin a mission of danger and suspense, can they reduce the damage being wrought? Will their disobedience and secrecy save their way of life, or distort it even further.
The characters are so laid back and positive, the story seemed to flow effortlessly. The government while a bit strange, seemed to have heralded a long lived peace, and yet appears to have held some of its own secrets, as it seems many governments do. The small group of individuals must make choices, but they must also trust, which does not seem as easy as it once was. Finding the right people to help them in their mission, they must also find those who feel as they do. Knowledge of computers is a must, and a strong will to do the right thing, whatever it takes also tops the list. Uri and his son Marius are smack in the middle of this conspiracy.
I really enjoyed the premise of the book. Newman does an excellent job of fleshing out a government that made sense, and his characters were quite real. With just a bit of over the top belief in what they learned, they also have a tough time realizing that everything may not be as they believed. The response from the outsiders, those from the other areas were possibly a little too honest, especially with the lack of address between the groups in the past. However, again trust was one of the main themes and with just a bit of explanation, there seemed to be an abundance of trust with little knowledge. The trust itself, in their own government also seems to have been a problem, never questioning, just accepting the information as they knew it. Yet this group was ready to fight to retain what they loved, their way of life. It is part of what people do best.
I would recommend this book for the science fiction fan, as well as those who appreciate a good story. The background leading up to the fracas is well written and thought out. If you enjoy history, even the fabricated stuff, you will also find this an interesting read. I believe it would be an excellent book for a discussion group; the intricacies of the belief system would be great fodder to discuss.