First published back in October of 2005, British author David Moody’s novel ‘Trust’ was the second book to be released by the author; originally as a self-published under the author’s own imprint – Infected Books.  Since this original publication, Moody has extensively reworked the tale, rereleasing it (once again by Infected Books) in July of 2012.  The re-release is a vastly improved version, of which the following review is for.

DLS Synopsis:
Tom Winter was out jogging when the alien spaceship first appeared over the skies of Thatcham.  Out of all the places for such a monumental occurrence to happen, Tom couldn’t believe that it would be here, in this small coastal village where nothing much of any interest ever happens.

Shaken by witnessing such a sight, Tom races home where his brother, Rob, is as understandably awe-struck as he is.  And as they watch from the bungalow window, the vast spacecraft moves out seawards, where it is guarded by a strong military presence. 

From that moment onwards everyone everywhere knew that nothing would ever be the same again.  The question of whether they were alone in the universe had been finally and  unquestionably answered.

Surprisingly, from the very outset the government and press appeared to be keeping the public informed of every development with the alien arrival.  Once the three-hundred-and-sixty-eight human-like aliens were escorted away for quarantining, regular updates on what was going on were broadcast through the media.

Within days it was announced that the aliens had come to our planet seeking rescue after their ship, which had been on a mining mission, ran into trouble when it was hit by a large piece of space debris, and they were forced to make an urgent landing at the nearest habitable planet.  That planet ended up being Earth.  However, it soon became apparent that the ship’s gigantic engines were now dangerously unstable, and the safest option was decided upon to send the spacecraft off into the sun where it would be destroyed without any further repercussions.

And so with their spacecraft sent off for its destruction, it was announced that the aliens would be here until May of next year – a full ten months away – before they could be collected by others from their own planet.  And following the quarantining, when it was deemed safe for the aliens to tolerate the Earth’s atmosphere, and agreed that they posed no threat to our own race, they were finally allowed to integrate themselves within the population in and around Thatcham.

But Tom was having a hard time believing what the media were feeding them all.  It all seemed too easy.  Everybody was being too accepting to the alien arrivals.  There was too much trust.  And suddenly he seemed to be one of the only ones left to be worrying about the aliens.  He just hoped that his fears were entirely unfounded, or else they’d all be in a hell of a lot of trouble…

DLS Review:
Written soon after the publication of the author’s debut novel, ‘Straight To You’ (1996), ‘Trust’ was conceived from the culmination of a vivid dream and the thought-provoking scenic ambience of a particular spot along the Welsh coastline.  The end result is a strangely personal take on an alien invasion.  I say strange – but at the same time the novel is nevertheless so perfectly in keeping with the author’s other work.

After being dubbed an ‘anti-scifi’ book by the cover artist of the 2012 re-release, Moody has fully embraced this curious description; accepting it as a very apt name for his take on an alien invasion story.  And in essence this simplistic description of the novel is absolutely spot-on.  The novel is a redefining of a classic plot.  It’s taken a well-travelled concept and turned it inside out; exposing the raw human insides of the otherwise overused science-fiction premise.

Like with ‘Autumn’ (2002), Moody focusses on the emotionally-driven human element to the unfolding drama – rather than merely suckering-up to the much more action-rich sci-fi machine that is constantly lurking in the background.  That’s not to say that the reader isn’t left in breathtaking awe at the ‘Independence Day’ (1996) style magnitude of the early ‘arrival’ scenes, or indeed left glued to the page at the first emergence of the intergalactic visitors upon the community of Thatcham.  There’s plenty of energy and excitement bundled into this tight package of a tale.  However, there’s so much more on top of all that.

David Moody is a man who takes pleasure in exploring the rough terrain of the human psyche when put into unbelievably extreme situations.  His novels more often than not take an everyday run-of-the-mill character, and thrust them (for better or for worse) into an extraordinary setting of horrific proportions – typically with that signature end-of-the-world factor casting a shadow of impending doom over the whole thing.

Average Joe, who (very purposefully) could very easily be you, is suddenly confronted by a series of events that push him to the very brink of his physical and emotional capacity.  Furthermore, alongside of this, Moody will take further characters with the very definition of ordinary and everyday lives, and transpose them into the drama.  In doing this Moody reinforces the notion over and over again that this is a very possible, very believable, and very real turn of events.

‘Trust’ is littered with such characters.  However none are more noticeably so in-keeping with this idea than with Tom’s single-mother friend, Clare Austin, who just doesn’t have time in her life to worry about the arrival of aliens.  But it doesn’t stop with just Clare.  Around every corner, and along every street in Thatcham, there’s another such person, swallowed up by the events and barely able to cope with it all.

Being so character-focused, the novel duly incorporates a good handful of particularly well-defined and fleshed-out characters that Moody goes to great lengths to make the reader emphasize and connect with them.  Our principal protagonist, Tom Winter, is by far and away the most emotionally mapped-out and developed character.  By around a third of the way through the tale the reader can’t help but feel an incredibly strong bond with him.  He’s left feeling alone, isolated from everyone else because of his ingrained doubt, and worrying that he might well be the one who is wrong.  Moody knows how to pin down the feeling of being out of sync with the rest of the world.  And my god does that powerful feeling come alive in the novel.

Think Kenneth Johnson’s ‘V’ (1983) miniseries, mixed with H.G. Wells’ ‘The War Of The Worlds’ (1898), Jack Finney’s ‘The Body Snatchers’ (1955), Neill Blomkamp’s ‘District 9’ (2009), Stephen King’s ‘Cell’ (2006) along with that all-important character-driven David Moody take on it all.

In absolute essence this is a novel about paranoia and about feeling alone and ostracized from everyone else.  Its beating heart is one that is out of sync with the masses, and those niggling doubts just won’t allow you to feel at ease with the situation.  And from that fertile ground for a novel, comes a tense and dramatic tale, bursting with emotional turmoil, and one man’s quest to get through it all somehow.

The original release runs for a total of 211 pages, with the re-release at 256 pages, which also includes an additional twelve page afterword by Moody which details the novel’s history and how it eventually came to this final re-worked version.

© DLS Reviews

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