Louise Marley,
The Maquisarde
(Ace, 2002)

You must fast forward to the future to find Planet Earth in The Maquisarde, Louise Marley's new book. The time frame is the fading days of the 21st century. It is not the kinder, gentler world of the poets, but it is one that Nostradamus might have predicted.

An imaginary line, the Line of Partition, puts the impoverished Third World beyond the pale. The line is guarded by the forces of Commander Gen. George Glass.

The protagonist of this novel, French national Ebriel Serique, changes from a good Parisian citizen to political activist when her husband and her daughter are seized and murdered for crossing the Line in a yacht in border waters. Ebriel questions the authorities on live television, but it is useless to challenge them. She is detained and declared mad. In a remote prison, she struggles to remember why she is there.

A helicopter lands nearby and a diversion is created. When the dust settles, Ebriel is spirited away. It is the women of the resistance movement, the Chain, who hope to recruit her as a member of their group.

A new world awaits her. Here the story explodes into action. Ebriel has questions: Who are these people? What is their plan for the future? What will her role be as a maquisarde?

Marley ratchets this hair-raising plot to one with breathtaking levels of suspense. She is inventive, sensitive to nuances and possibly prophetic in her view of mankind as desperate and even reckless in the pursuit of the old freedoms.

Readers of standard science fiction will find much that is familiar here. What is different is the prominent role of women as rescuers and planners.

If you are looking for a writer with a provocative view of the future, Marley delivers. Her stylish, measured prose and ability to create scenes with energy that crackles and fizzes is a treat.

- Rambles
written by Jean Marchand
published 8 February 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.