cover image Londonia


Kate A. Hardy. Tartarus, $45 (400p) ISBN 978-1-912586-19-6

British author Hardy debuts with a dystopian yet enchanting novel set in the early 2070s, a period some three decades after the Final Curtain, a cataclysmic occurrence whose exact nature is never revealed. The elite live in Cincture, an area that corresponds to central London, which is now contained within towering walls of “shining coppery metal.” The citizens of the sprawling area outside the walls called Londonia muddle along by sharing what little they possess and bartering. Hoxton, a beautiful woman in her 30s, wakes up one morning in Londonia with no memory of what went before. She’s soon befriended by Jarvis, a wily old soul, who immediately reckons that she would make an excellent finder: someone who barters for goods and seeks out items that clients want, such as spectacles or an “Ikea cabinet, circa 2025.” During a visit to Cincture on business, Hoxton discovers she has a son, and her search to find him and understand her past begins. The author does a fine job portraying her Dickensian characters. Hardy’s almost hopeful view of the world’s inevitably chaotic future lifts this entertaining and well-told tale. Agent: Sandra Sawicka, Marjacq Scripts (U.K.). (July)