The Forever Watch. Book Review

foreverwatchTHE FOREVER WATCH by David Ramirez
Hodder & Stoughton, h/b, 336pp, £16.99
Reviewed by Martin Willoughby

This is an orchestral book: starts slow, but builds into a crescendo that leaves you stunned.

The early chapters can be difficult going, but Ramirez has a style that keeps you engaged with the characters, even if the sex scenes are likely to be nominated for the bad sex award. After one third of the book has past, the pace picks up and builds until the final battle between the opposing sides. The final secret is then revealed and you get a chance to wind down for a few pages before the book ends.

It’s perfectly paced, very well written and there are secrets and lies that build right to the last. Layer upon layer of subterfuge that, even if it comes as a surprise, never comes out of left field.

Hana is a high ranking member of the crew of the Noah, a ship that contains the last remnants of humanity, the thousands that left after the Earth was destroyed a couple of centuries ago. Their mission is to live and breed and take the remains of humanity on a millennium long journey to Caanan, their new world and a new start.

Humans have developed Psi powers, augmented by the power from the ships generators. Using the plastech aboard the ship and these powers, they can build anything and have created whole cities in the image of the world they left behind. It’s a decent life, if not abundant.

But something is troubling Hana. She has gone through the breeding, a period where she is kept in a coma while the child grows inside her, only being awakened after it is born and her body has recovered. The child having been handed over to keepers, people whose job it is to raise the next generation. But even behind this simplicity lies a dreadful secret.

Her emptiness is filled by her friends, one of whom, Barrens, is unlike the others. He’s a policeman, big, tough and her saviour from a violent incident many years ago. They become closer friends, then lovers as they try to unravel the mystery of mincemeat.

It’s a name given to a serial killer that has been taking the lives of many people, including Barrens boss, Callahan. Barrens went to meet him at his home while Hana was breeding and found not his captain, but his remains, liquefied and spread across the apartment.

As they investigate they come across Bullet, a young man with extraordinary psychic powers and the three of them continue. But their efforts bring them to the attention of Isec, the ship’s security force and from this point on, they are wanted people.

After joining a resistance movement, all hell lets loose as layer upon layer of deceit and treachery are revealed, not just within the government of the ship, but the resistance leaders themselves. Civil war breaks out, people change sides until the final secrets are revealed. It is devastating to all.

This is a cracker of a book that will reward the reader with a great story, some excellently drawn characters and a plot that will lead you through twists and turns at every point.