There will come a day when a thousand illegals descend on your detention centres. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below…And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me.
Ashala Wolf is in trouble. She has been captured by the Chief Administrator, Neville Rose, who has a frightening machine designed to interrogate illegals like Ashala. And, in spite of her special skills, Ashala doesn’t know if she’ll be able to withstand the interrogation, designed to unlock the secrets of her mind. Guarding her every move is Justin Connor, an enforcer who isn’t just her guard, but also the very person who betrayed her, by infiltrating the Tribe and learning her secrets. Ashala isn’t sure the Tribe can survive this betrayal.
But all is not as it seems, and as her interrogation goes on, and Ashala’s life hangs in the balance more than once, she starts to question just who her enemies – and her friends – really are.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is the first is a stunning new series, The Tribe, from first time novelist Ambelin Kwaymullina. Set in a post-apocalyptic future where man’s actions have lead to a total restructuring of the world and an awareness of the damage man’s actions does to the Balance of nature, the story sets those who are different because of special powers which connect them to the earth’s forces against the bulk of people who do not. Those who have such powers, Illegals, are not considered Citizens and so must live in captivity, or live outside society. Ashala, whose ability is Sleepwalking – an ability to live and manipulate her dreams – has gathered together other young people with abilities into the Tribe, whose goal is to survive, but also to bring about change.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a strong start to the series. Kwaymullina has written and illustrated picture books and shorter books for younger readers, and her first foray into a longer form is outstanding.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Walker Books, 2012
Available from good bookstores or online.