Monday 25 March 2024

The Collapsing Wave by Doug Johnstone BLOG TOUR #TheCollapsingWave @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #SandyIsBack #BookReview


Six months since the earth-shattering events of The Space Between Us, the revelatory hope of the aliens' visit has turned to dust and the creatures have disappeared into the water off Scotland's west coast.

Teenager Lennox and grieving mother Heather are being held in New Broom, a makeshift US military base, the subject of experiments, alongside the Enceladons who have been captured by the authorities.

Ava, who has given birth, is awaiting the jury verdict at her trial for the murder of her husband. And MI7 agent Oscar Fellowes, who has been sidelined by the US military, is beginning to think he might be on the wrong side of history.

When alien Sandy makes contact, Lennox and Heather make a plan to escape with Ava. All three of them are heading for a profound confrontation between the worst of humanity and a possible brighter future, as the stakes get higher for the alien Enceladons and the entire human race…

Sequel to the bestselling The Space Between Us, The Collapsing Wave is an exquisite, epic first-contact novel, laced with peril and populated by unforgettable characters, and the awe-inspiring book we all need right now…

The Collapsing Wave by Doug Johnstone was published on 14 March 2024 by Orenda Books and is the second in the Enceladons trilogy. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour 

A year ago, I reviewed The Space Between Us by Doug Johnstone, the first in his Encedalon Trilogy. That was a book that moved me deeply, whilst I am fan of dystopia and speculative fiction, I have never thought of myself as a science-fiction fan. Doug Johnstone and his amazing characters changed that, I doubt that I'm ever going to dip into the realms of space invaders and purple aliens, but give me a five legged octopus with pulsating lights and I'm absolutely smitten. 

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of this author. One of his previous books; Breakers, sits just behind The Handmaid's Tale as my favourite book ever. He writes with a compassion and understanding of human nature that is hard to beat, there's always a touch of humour and in this series, a few tears may be shed too. 

It is six months since the end of the previous book. The encedalon that we know as Sandy has disappeared into the water off Scotland along with others that accompanied them. Our human protagonists; Lennox and Heather, Ava and Oscar Fellowes are all in dark places. 

Lennox and Heather have been captured and are being held at a purpose built US military base on the shores of Loch Broom, called, ironically and cynically, New Broom. M17 official Oscar Fellowes is also there. An English man amongst American scientists, he's slowly realising that his past actions were wrong and that the constant torture and experimentation headed up by General Carson is wicked and cruel. Any encedelon that they manage to capture is immediately experimented upon, and most of them die. 

Ava is now a mother to baby Chloe and recently stood trial for the murder of her abusive husband. Although set free, she and Chloe were immediately captured by Carson's men and hauled off to New Broom - who better to experiment on than a small baby with no preconceptions? 

Across from New Broom is an encampment made up of people who are curious about the encedalons, they are interested in them, and mean no harm. Led by a strong woman named Jodie, these are the Outwithers. 

When Lennox meets young Vonnie, an outwither, as he strolls along the camp edge, he finds someone who seems to understand and who wants to help. When Sandy then gets in touch, the plans for escape are made. 

There are some brutal scenes in this novel, the experiments and physical pain that baby Chloe experiences, in front of her desperate mother are emotionally draining. Heather's realisation that she is ill once again, and that this is part of her and how she is made up, coupled with her memories of her late daughter are heartbreaking at times. 

We live in a world of pain, of controlling dictators, of power struggles and of freedoms lost. Whilst of course, the encedelons are fictional, their experiences can be taken straight from the mouths of our news readers today. The illogical treatment of those thought of as 'aliens', the struggle of the refugee to find safety, the constant battle against prejudice and hate, it is all there, all staring at us from the pages of this novel, just as it does from our daily newspapers. 

Doug Johnstone excels in creating characters and situations that readers can truly relate to, and he does it with style and also entertains at the same time.  This is not all doom and gloom, there's fast paced action, there's beautiful human interaction and there's the joy of the wild and desolate Scottish scenery too. 

A book and series that is so hard to review, so hard to do justice to. My advice? Go out, buy a copy and read it. Highly recommended.

Doug Johnstone is the author of 16 previous novels, most recently The Opposite of Lonely
(2023) and The Space Between Us (2023). 

The Big Chill (2020) was longlisted for Theakston Crime Novel of the Year, and Black Hearts was shortlisted for the same award. 

Three of his books, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), have been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. 

He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade, and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. 

Doug is a songwriter and musician with six albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers. 

He’s also co-founder of the Scotland Writers Football Club, and has a PhD in nuclear physics.

X @doug_johnstone

Instagram @writerdougj

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