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An Odyssey around a broken world

30th April 2024

The Descent by Paul E Hardisty, an Odyssey around a broken world.

An Odyssey around a broken world

In the publicity, The Descent is billed as a prequel to Paul’s critically acclaimed first climate change novel The Forcing. Yes, it is… but it is also a sequel. The Forcing describes a family fleeing a man-made climate catastrophe and famine-induced wars to the relative safety of Australia. They travelled by small boat from the States, along South America, and across the Southern Ocean to Australia. There were in great danger every inch of the way. In a remote coastal part of Australia they settled and began to rebuild their lives. The Descent covers the period in the US – and in global business and politics – that leads up to the climate catastrophe. A cabal of ruthless global billionaires corner most of the wealth of the world and exploit everyone else. They lead extravagant and decadent life styles. They wipe out whole populations to ensure food security for themselves.

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The sequel part of the book (told in alternate chapters with the prequel) covers the life of the family of Kweku Ashworth. He is the son and stepson of those who fled the States in a small boat bound for Australia. Kweku, his wife Julie and son Leo, suffer great trauma at their home in Australia and their daughter, Becky, is kidnapped. They decide to set off – in the same boat that brought Kweku there and on which he was born – to try and locate Becky and to find out more about the outside world and his parents’ history. They visit some strange and dangerous places. First stop is in Madagascar where a seemingly peaceful and harmonious female-dominated society is in existence. Men are labourers and, in effect, willing sex slaves. They escape at gunpoint as they begin to realise the truth… Next they round the Cape and head up the West Coast of Africa to see the place where Kweku’s father was born and where a terrible massacre happened courtesy of the billionaires’ cabal. And then on, across the Atlantic, to Grenada an island where one of the original cabal of billionaires has created a highly controlled, and quite frightening, sanctuary protected from the rest of the world. Finally via the Panama Canal to Bora Bora (where many questions are answered) and back to Australia. A real odyssey of discovery and horror around a dystopian world.

The Forcing and The Descent are, clearly, both works of fiction. But it is not that huge a leap of imagination to take us from where we are today to a future of the kind described. Paul is not just an author. He is also a very respected environmental scientist. We should listen to his words.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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Catch the author on Twitter X @hardisty-paul

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