Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Genesis by Bernard Beckett (May 2009, Quercus Publishing Plc, ISBN: 1847247237)

First Lines:
First Hour

Anax moved down the long corridor. The only sound was the gentle hiss of the air filter overhead. The lights were down low, as demanded by the new regulations. She remembered brighter days, but never spoke of them. It was one of the Great Mistakes, thinking of brightness as a quality of the past.

Review: It's the latter part of the 21st Century. The world has been devastated by war and by a plague. The only survivors inhabit The Republic, a group of islands surrounded by the 'Great Sea Fence', from which any refugees are repelled by deadly force, in case they are infected.

Anaximander is a student who is trying to gain entrance to the prestigious and exclusive Academy. Her final examination is an oral presentation taking five hours and her chosen subject is the rebel Adam Forde. Over the course of the five hours, Anax supplies several holographic presentations as well as being cross-examined. Through this structure, we the reader, get to know about The Republic and bit by bit, who Adam Forde was, what he did and his importance to the community's current way of life.

Genesis is a thought provoking book. The Republic is no Utopia but it is pragmatic, what would others do in the same situation? The story of Adam is gripping and one of the final revelations will provoke one of two reactions: either an "I thought so" and a flick back through the pages to confirm the the clues, or complete surprise and a flick back through the pages to see what was missed or misinterpreted. Either way the book is one that will clamour to be read again and is one that lingers long in the mind.

Genesis is available in adult, young adult and audio editions.

Cover: Gorgeous cover with the sea wall in the background.

Patrick Ness reviews Genesis in The Guardian. Genesis is on the longlist for the Guardian's Children's Fiction Prize.


  1. This was the book we were looking out for in Waterstone's last week, but not finding. Sounds as if Jenny might enjoy it from your post, so I'll keep an eye out. Thanks for the review!

  2. I really enjoyed this one, and I'll admit, I was one of the readers taken by surprise!

  3. It's a very memorable ending, that's for sure. I'd like to have seen more about the world Anax lives in but that wasn't possible really!