Review Blog

Apr 13 2012

This is not forgiveness by Celia Rees

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Bloomsbury, 2012. ISBN 978 1 4088 1769 8.
(Ages: 14+) Terrorism.In three separate voices, the story is told of one girl's plot to use the two boys of a family for her own ends. One boy is young Jamie, besotted with Caro, a girl who was friendly with his sister, Martha, but has always appeared out of his reach. The other, his older brother, Rob, lately returned form tours of duty in Afghanistan, where a roadside bomb almost severed his leg, ending his army career. Back in Britain, suffering from post traumatic shock, unable to work, he seeks out his former comrades, gets drunk, uses drugs and dreams of weapons. Caro sees in him the perfect candidate for her plan.
As each chapter progresses we see the scheming Caro use Jamie to get information about Rob, sleeping with him, then kicking him out of her bed, only to drive to Rob's to further her plan. She feeds both just enough information to entangle them, and shows Rob her stepfather's gun and ammunition storage.
After being involved in political demonstrations her values have become those of the Red Army Faction, the group that gained notoriety in the 1970's through the Baader Meinhof Group, which used terrorism and killings as their way to overthrow governments.
We see Caro entwine Rob and Jamie along with the reader as this thrilling tale hurtles along to an unexpected conclusion.
Terrorism from within is an absorbing topic, and linked with post traumatic shock and the history of terrorist groups around the world, this book helps to show the readers that it is a much wider and far more complex problem than has been imagined.
Fran Knight

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