The Seclusion


Loved it! 😍

A world where everyone has a job, no-one is hungry or homeless, and every need is catered for – all they want in return is your freedom.


Dystopian thriller, from a fresh new voice. America is run by The Board, a faceless group of 15 businessmen who assumed power after several attacks on the continental US.


Main Characters:

Patrica Collins: The protagonist. An only child, as per regulations, she gradually becomes aware that the world is not as it should be. She works as a tester in the Natural Resource Department.


Rexx: Patricia’s colleague, and best friend.


Minor Characters:

Gregory Collins: Patricia’s father. He has lived through the changes in society, and has a story to tell.


Oliver Shelling: An overseer the two refugees meet in the wildlands.



It is late in the 21st Century, and the Trump-ian dream has come true. America is bounded to the North and South by two giant walls, and the populace has been deeply educated in the ways and rightness of the Board, the ruling body that ensures everyone has a job, no-one goes hungry or homeless, and every need is catered for – all that is required in return is your freedom.


The novel opens with Patricia (aka Patch), a mid-ranking scientist taking soil samples. From the opening scenes, we understand that, largely, the great American Outdoors is unfit for human habitation. She happens to be working near the southern Wall, which towers over her, and supposedly is to keep her safe. We also get our first look at the Compos, the all-powerful police force, which has the power to do literally anything to a citizen without real fear of reprisal.


Patch thoroughly believes in a benign Board, and any who fall foul of it are rightly considered traitors, and should be dealt with. We get a look at her world, a tightly-controlled and observed society. The ubiquitous camera is in every room, and all conversations can be monitored and recorded.


A different truth becomes apparent to her, when she and Rexx discover an ancient van deep in a deserted woodland, and its contents prompt a slew of questions. A roll of a tiny pebble soon becomes a landslide, and the pair shortly find themselves on the run, seeking sanctuary.


What I Liked:


-      The dystopian atmosphere is excellently done. It is insidious, but always ready to snap down on a non-conformer.

-      Nice level of future tech lends a realism to the story. The weapons, the transport, the chips – it is chillingly easy to visualise this world.

-      I liked the characters – they were well-developed, and the author allowed them to grow into their realisations naturally.


What I Didn’t Like:


-      There was a lot of superfluous descriptive writing, a lot of science information given, which didn’t help the overall pace of the book, though of course supported the world-building.

-      The ending was not as good as the rest of the book, so I hope there is a sequel.




This is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It sits comfortably in the heart of the dystopian genre, and I would absolutely recommend it.

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About the author

Jacqui Castle is a professional freelance writer and first-time novelist. She lives and writes in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. Jacqui's debut book, The Seclusion, is a Kirkus Reviews Best Science Fiction Book of September 2018. view profile

Published on September 04, 2018

Published by Inkshares

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Dystopian

Reviewed by