... opens in spectacular fashion ... This author has a nifty way of capturing the essence of current headline-making trends and harnessing it into a first-rate psychological thriller. We’re never quite sure of warrior-queen-cum-earth-mother Romy, her motivations and thought processes, and because of that unease, Marwood keeps us on tenterhooks throughout. Even solid, staid Sarah has the capacity to shock, and the story arc allocated to Eden and Ilo is on a par with any Brothers Grimm fairy tale ... a cleverly-wrought evocation of the world we live in today, with all its faults and foibles. The subject matter could have made for depressingly dark reading, but instead we are offered moments of light and even a chink or two of hope. This is a haunting book by an author who is always happy to plough her own furrow. Long may it continue!
An extraordinary novel of psychological suspense that is more wicked than Marwood’s Edgar-winning Wicked Girls (2013) and darker than her Macavity-winning The Killer Next Door (2014) ... Two of Marwood’s novels have already been optioned for film, and this one would make an eerie docudrama that could rival The Blair Witch Project.
... gripping, creepy ... Marwood’s extreme sense of place makes both contemporary Britain and the Ark seem both appealing and appalling sites to live. Both places can easily be considered a poison garden, depending on a person’s perception as Marwood parallels life at the Ark and the stifling, unforgiving home rules by religious fervor in which Sarah and Somer had been raised ... Marwood again shows a mastery at creating new worlds.
A confusing mass of detail at the beginning of the book settles into a disturbing exploration of religious fervor and how belief can be used to justify the worst impulses of humankind. Author Marwood has a deft touch in this pre-apocalyptic tale ... A gripping, unexpected novel with graphic elements that are not for the faint of heart.
... creepy ... Marwood makes life inside the controlling and Spartan survivalist compound appear simultaneously appalling and idyllic, leaving the reader feeling revolted, but just a bit complicit. The dangling plot line at the end leaves the story feeling less complete than it should. Hopefully, a sequel will provide some resolution.