‘A young TV journalist is forced to revisit her harrowing past when she’s thrust into
a sex-trafficking investigation in her hometown’
– The Source
[ About the Book ]
Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…
Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…
As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.
[ My Review ]
The Source by Sarah Sultoon was published in digital format February 15th with Orenda books and will be released in paperback original April 15th. It is described as ‘a riveting, searing and devastatingly dark thriller, a story about survival, about hopes and dreams, about power, abuse and resilience … an immense, tense and thought-provoking debut that you will never, ever forget.’
A book that has a harrowing theme running through it, The Source tells a story of sex abuse, child cruelty, alcoholism and the poverty trap. While the finer details are not graphic, it is only too easy to fill in the blanks of lives destroyed and trusts damaged beyond repair.
There are two parallel stories running through The Source. 2006 and Marie is a young journalist involved in an investigation into sex-trafficking. The piece is coming together and almost ready to be exposed when a huge news event takes precedence. Some years previously there had been a big sex-abuse case involving high-ranking staff members of an army camp. Entitled Operation Andromeda the news at the time had disgusted the public with the identities of the victims kept secret but the facts were laid bare. Children had been selected, groomed and regularly abused by these twisted individuals for their own perverted sexual appetites, without a thought given to the mental and physical damage being inflicted on the victims. Now Scotland Yard has new information and all news stations are preparing for the inevitable chaos that will follow. Marie and her colleagues are in a race to find out what this new information could possibly be and where it will take this shocking case.
1996 and Carly is a young teenager with little prospects for her future. Her father is not on the scene, her brother has left home to join the army leaving Carly with an alcoholic mother and her baby sister, Kayleigh. With no money and no hope, Carly tries her hardest to make ends meet. The responsibility for Kayleigh often falls on Carly’s lap with her mother unconscious on a chair, incoherent and incapable of looking after anyone or anything. Carly feels hopeless but when her brother makes a suggestion that would provide her with much of what she needs, Carly is unwittingly stepping into a nightmare, one that will change the course of her life forever.
With a dual narrative Carly and Marie’s stories are interwoven over the years up to the reopening of Operation Andromeda. Sarah Sultoon is a journalist herself, a former award-winning CNN news executive, so her writing reflects her own knowledge and experience of the frenetic world of a reporter. At times during some of the more journalistic-related scenes I did, unfortunately, lose track a little and found myself rereading sections to provide clarity. I do however appreciate that this was Sarah Sultoon’s old stomping ground and I have no knowledge of the working day of a reporter so I would advise that, as a reader, you focus a bit more on these scenes.
The Source is a complex and uncomfortable read that handles very sensitively many distressing themes making it a book that would not be to everyone’s taste. However there is no question about the author’s passion for exploring and highlighting such heinous and very disturbing subjects with a very personal note in the acknowledgements.
“..to the victims, I have visualised your pain, I have imagined your suffering. It still feels wrong that I have appropriated your experience when I should have tried to do something more material about it. But when the facts themselves are under attack, the medium of fiction is a powerful tool. I hope you can see it is all in pursuit of the truth. And I hope I have done it justice”
The subject matter of The Source is all too relevant today where cases of the exploitation of the weak by the powerful have become part of our daily newsfeed. Giving readers a very insightful behind-the-camera exposé of the hectic and pressured life of a reporter, Sarah Sultoon adds an extra layer of authenticity to the novel, which is currently in development for TV with Lime Pictures (adapted by Irish writer Jo Spain)
[ Bio ]
Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer, whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate language degree in French and Spanish, and Masters of Philosophy in History, Film and Television. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if…..
Twitter – @SultoonSarah