Blue Gold by David Barker #BookReview #BlogTour

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat - a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow. When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission. Freda's misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster - a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires' tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust? As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon - and protect the future of 'blue gold'. David Barker's gripping debut will thrill fans of Richard North Patterson, Scott Mariani and Steve Berry.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Blue Gold today. Many thanks to David Barker, Urbane Publications and Kelly Lacey from Love Books Group for inviting me and for my copy of the novel.

You'd have to have been in a coma to not realise that climate change is (rightly) at the forefront of our collective social and political consciousness at present. In Blue Gold, David Barker imagines a near future in which the demand for water has meant the international community is on the brink of world war as various countries and terrorists resort to increasingly violent measures in the race to hold control over this 'blue gold'.
The book opens with a brief but exciting scene which introduces international OFWAT agents, Sim and Freda. As Sim finds himself in a perilous position, he reflects on how much his life has changed in a such a short space of time, having received a phone call just two months ago which changed everything for him. The storyline then switches back to this moment, when Sim is called in to work after a monitoring satellite over Iceland suddenly disappears. He quickly suspects it has been purposely brought down as an act of either war or terrorism and it is his report to OFWAT's HQ which results in him being paired with seasoned agent, Freda.
As the book progresses it soon becomes obvious that this is not a novel written with a linear timeline and alongside the main storyline featuring Sim and Freda's danger-fraught international trail, there are scenes set at various key moments in this world's history, from 2018 onwards. It makes for a complex read and for those readers who prefer a more straightforward narrative, I suspect the introduction of numerous characters and scenes which aren't obviously linked to the main story, may be a little too complicated. However, I really enjoyed what is an immersive and really quite unnerving exploration of how the world might react to the ever-growing need for water. It's impossible not to compare this potential future scenario with the wars and terrorist acts which have arisen due to the demand for oil. I thought the little excerpts from the O.D. (Overseas Division) Training Manual were a lovely extra touch and an indication as to the level of detail David Barker has used to create this entirely believable world. Likewise, right at the end of the book, after the author's notes, there is another treat for readers; 'Extracts From: "A Potable History of W³, The World War for Water" by A Wardle.' and though it's not necessary to read this part, I would urge you to do so.
Blue Gold is a novel which demands attention but rewards its readers with a fast-paced, riveting plot set in a well-crafted and only too realistic future. The main characters, Sim and Freda are both intriguing protagonists and I enjoyed the dynamic between the pair. During the course of the novel, the meandering narrative gives us vital glimpses into their pasts and it's fascinating to discover what brought them to this point and what effect it has had on them. Although both are highly resourceful and capable agents, they are troubled by what they encounter and are rather reluctant heroes  who don't seek adventure but are motivated by a desire to prevent war.
In the author's notes at the end, David Barker includes some important facts about the global demand for water which means the possibility of conflict over water resources is only too plausible - by 2030, over half the word's population will live in areas of high water stress. Blue Gold is a compelling speculative action thriller but it is also a heartfelt call for more awareness of this crucial issue. I highly recommend you take the time to read on after the story concludes for more information including links to various charities and organisations who are endeavouring to address the ongoing challenge. Blue Gold is a disturbing look at what may lie ahead for us but it is also an exciting, thought-provoking and thoroughly engaging eco-thriller. I'm looking forward to discovering what happens next in the sequel, Rose Gold. Highly recommended.

Blue Gold is published by Urbane Publications and can be purchased from Amazon or you can help to support independent bookstores by buying from Hive.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

David lives in Berkshire and is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing.
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  1. I LOVE this review so much! I'm totally buying the book (my bank will hate you, haha) xxx

  2. Thank you, Meggy! I’d like to apologise to your bank account - but I’m not sorry!! 🤣 xxx


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