Monday, 22 February 2021

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler
Self published in November 2019.

Included in my Vegan Bookshop

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The UK, year 2139.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block, until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision, and promises to bring hope back to the people's lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift's spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor's loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder's message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

Blackthorn is the fifth novel in Terry Tyler's scarily realistic Project Renova series. It is set a little later than the beginning of Legacy and takes place almost entirely within the city of Blackthorn which I remember seeing being established in the earlier book. There are nods to previous events and characters, but Blackthorn, I think, could also be satisfyingly read as a standalone novel or as an entry into the series.

The leadership and citizens of Blackthorn have established fairly secure lives within their walled city and the devastating pandemic of a century before is now mythology rather than memory. I liked how Tyler establishes this setting through three very different sets of eyes. Concepts such as equality didn't survive The Fall so, even within this relatively small society, a few people live luxuriously while others barely have enough to survive. This leads to frequent violence and unrest as people without hope feel they can only gain by agitation. It was interesting for me to watch attitudes change as Ryder's message of embracing The Light takes hold across Blackthorn. And, as the people begin to lives according to their new found faith - working together and trying to understand others' points of view, their lives do indeed improve. It's a cycle of self improvement that really does benefit Blackthorn, but unfortunately individual selfishness often trumps common good and Tyler understands perfectly how human nature works so is able to portray her characters' motivations in a totally believable way. She kept me hooked from start to finish and, as it's a while since I read the earlier Project Renova books, I am now very tempted to go back and reread the whole series.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Terry Tyler / Dystopian fiction / Books from England


  1. I can't say I've heard of this series. I have heard of Terry Tyler though. I like when an installment to a series makes you want to re-read the previous ones. Sometimes, I get so invested in the world that I can't help but go back and relive them all over again.

  2. Thank you so, so much, Steph! I saw this on Amazon this morning - lovely surprise!

    It was actually written as a stand alone - I thought a Book Five for the series was a bit too much. Obviously some parts, like Evie's connection to Silas and Lottie, will mean more if you've read the rest of the series, particularly Legacy.