The Prole Soldier by Oliver Tidy #BookReview #BlogTour

The Prole Soldier is set in a dystopian near future

Theo lives and works in the Blue Zone of Rainbow City. 

He is almost sixteen at which age he will begin four years conscription – military or mines. He wants neither. He hates his life and despises the cruelty, injustice and inequality that prevails. 

When the opportunity arises for Theo to be involved in the fight for change he grabs it, knowing that failure will cost him everything.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Prole Soldier by Oliver Tidy today, many thanks to the author and Caroline Vincent of Bits About Books for inviting me and for my advance ecopy of the book.
The Prole Soldier might be set in the near future but it's not just the title that suggests a year from the past as it progressively becomes clear that the Elite of Rainbow City were inspired by the novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). From the telescreens that transmit propaganda and misinformation into every home to the various Ministries that control every aspect of people's lives, Theo and the other proles live an Orwellian existence. The Prole Soldier is speculative fiction and imagines a city where citizens live in what has become a Communist-like totalitarian state. The city has been divided into zones, the outer areas are so damaged by conflict to have become uninhabitable and so the prole workforce live their controlled lives in the Blue Zone. Meanwhile the more privileged live in the Indigo Zone with the Elite in the Violet Zone.
Fifteen year old Theo is a prole who works in the factories by day but visits the Forbidden Zones to scavenge at night. The first part of the book follows Theo's progression from bored teenager to enemy of the state as he makes discoveries that lead him to question both the inequality and injustice of life in Rainbow City and his own complicity in accepting the role assigned to him. As the first book in a series, there is some necessary world building here but thankfully the information flows naturally as we learn more about the history and structure of Rainbow City through Theo as he discovers the truth about the Elite and how they control life in the Zones.
The Prole Soldier eventually becomes a cross between 1984 and The Hunger Games as Theo is forced to fight not just to change society but for his very existence. This is Oliver Tidy's first dystopian novel but as a crime writer he knows just how to build the tension and there are some thriller worthy twists that took the story into directions I hadn't predicted at all. There are some enjoyable touches of humour too, not least the inclusion of a tanned television producer called Cowell... Theo is a likeable protagonist who carries the story well as it is very much driven by him. That said there are a few other characters who are fascinating and I hope we learn more about them in subsequent books in the series. There is no definitive antagonist here, just the vague Elite which makes for a sinister foe but perhaps not one that really stirs the emotions - the only characters to really hate here are a couple of presenters, Hank and Abby who make even the most partisan sports anchors look restrained.
Dystopian fiction works best when it's believable and Rainbow City is only too easy to imagine. A disaffected electorate who are persuaded to relinquish more and more control to the Government following acts of terrorism and who don't bother to vote - the results are frighteningly easy to believe.  Perhaps like Orwell in 1949, Oliver Tidy has written a book that should be considered a prophetic cautionary tale... The Prole Soldier is a thoroughly gripping and intelligent page-turner of a novel and after this superb start to the series I can't wait to read what comes next!

The Prole Soldier is available to purchase now from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Crime writing author Oliver Tidy has had a life-long love affair with books. He dreams of one day writing something that he could find in a beautifully-jacketed hard-cover or paperback copy on a shelf in a book shop. He’d even be happy with something taking up space in the remainder bin, on a pavement, in the rain, outside The Works.
He found the time and opportunity to finally indulge his writing ambition after moving abroad to teach English as a foreign language to young learners eight years ago.  Impatient for success and an income that would enable him to stay at home all day in his pyjamas he discovered self-publishing. He gave it go. By and large readers have been kind to him. Very kind. Kind enough that two years ago he was able to give up the day job and write full-time. Mostly in his pyjamas.
Oliver Tidy has fourteen books in three series, a couple of stand-alone novels and a couple of short story collections. All available through Amazon (clickable link to Am Author Page). Among his books are The Romney and Marsh Files (British police procedurals set in Dover) and the Booker & Cash novels, a series of private detective tales set in the south of England and published by Bloodhound Books. Oliver is back living on Romney Marsh in the UK. His home. He still wakes in the night from time to time shouting about seeing his books on a shelf in Waterstones.