Divided We Stand
by Rachel McLean
Divided We Stand
Britain is a country under surveillance. Neighbours spy on neighbours. Schools enforce loyalty to the state. And children are encouraged to inform on their parents.
Disgraced MP Jennifer Sinclair has earned her freedom but returns home to find everything changed.
Rita Gurumurthy has been sent to a high security prison. When a sympathetic guard helps her escape she becomes a fugitive, forced to go into hiding.
To reunite her family and win freedom for her son and her friend, Jennifer must challenge her old colleague and rival, the new Prime Minister Catherine Moore.
Will Catherine listen to reason and remove the country from its yoke of fear and suspicion? Or will Jennifer have to reveal the secret only she knows about Catherine, and risk plunging the country into turmoil?
I’ve come to expect a lot from Rachel McLean as an author, and she never disappoints. This third book in the Division Bell trilogy is every much the “David vs Goliath” story as its predecessors. In the current times of political uncertainty (or should that be “insanity”?) she takes the reader on another captivating, white-knuckle ride.
You too will be screaming at the pages, begging for the cavalry. It’s escapism into a world that is not so far-fetched from our present reality, where you will be black and blue from pinching yourself to check it’s not from the non-fiction shelf.
I admit to being a huge fan of trilogies – and having read books 1 and 2 in this series, there was no way on the planet I was going to miss this one.
The story picks up with Jennifer Sinclair – former Birmingham MP and Cabinet Minister returning home to an empty house after having been arrested for sheltering her supposedly terrorist-inclined son and hiding him from the authorities. She returns to Brum to see citizens hostile to a young Muslim woman. Challenging them, she hears of another terrorist act having been committed in the city. Concern for her own family overwhelms her and she fears for their safety in this new extreme anti-Muslim world.
In her own street, curtains twitch as she arrives at her front door where a CCTV camera is now focused on her house.
Neighbours are wary of her, unwilling to be seen in public with her. So much has happened while she has been “indisposed” at the British Values Centre, and none of it for the good of the people.
The other main protagonist from book two – Rita Gurumurthy – is on her way to a new facility when a car accident gives her the chance to escape. But where can she go, and how long can she survive without being spotted and returned to the hell-hole that left her battered and bruised both physically and mentally?
The plight of the two women to tell their stories to the world without risking further harm continues.
Jennifer finally catches up with her husband and youngest son, Hassan, but there is still no news of Samir.
Rita sees her boyfriend taken from his home by police as she crawls her way into Worcester, starving, cold and scared to death.
Their diligence and courage to stand up to the new status quo is both heart-warming and troubling. Conflict and hostility surface at every opportunity; it seems there is no way for the truth to be told as a result of too many cover-ups, secrets and lies in the corridors of power.
This is another gripping thriller, highlighting the impact of how fear can turn neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend, and all in the name of power.
In all honesty, this story freaked me out somewhat due to the comparisons that can be drawn with our current political landscape. Scary, thought-provoking, gritty and almost voyeuristic in its potential reality.
About the Author
I’m Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.
I’m told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories – well, I’m sorry but I can’t help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They’re inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.
You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub.