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Cover image for Veracity : a novel
Format:
Title:
Veracity : a novel
ISBN:
9781439123348

9781439155950
Edition:
1st Pocket books hardcover ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Pocket Books, 2010.
Physical Description:
vi, 376 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
Harper Adams was six years old in 2012 when an act of viral terrorism wiped out one-half of the country's population. Out of the ashes rose a new government, the Confederation of the Willing, dedicated to maintaining order at any cost. The populace is controlled via government-sanctioned sex and drugs, a brutal police force known as the Blue Coats, and a device called the slate, a mandatory implant that monitors every word a person speaks. To utter a Red-Listed, forbidden word is to risk physical punishment or even death. But there are those who resist. Guided by the fabled "Book of Noah," they are determined to shake the people from their apathy and ignorance, and are prepared to start a war in the name of freedom. The newest member of this resistance is Harper -- a woman driven by memories of a daughter lost, a daughter whose very name was erased by the Red List. And she possesses a power that could make her the underground warriors' ultimate weapon -- or the instrument of their destruction.
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Summary

Summary

Harper Adams was six years old in 2012 when an act of viral terrorism wiped out one-half of the country's population. Out of the ashes rose a new government, the Confederation of the Willing, dedicated to maintaining order at any cost. The populace is controlled via government-sanctioned sex and drugs, a brutal police force known as the Blue Coats, and a device called the slate, a mandatory implant that monitors every word a person speaks. To utter a Red-Listed, forbidden word is to risk physical punishment or even death.But there are those who resist. Guided by the fabled "Book of Noah," they are determined to shake the people from their apathy and ignorance, and are prepared to start a war in the name of freedom. The newest member of this resistance is Harper -- a woman driven by memories of a daughter lost, a daughter whose very name was erased by the Red List. And she possesses a power that could make her the underground warriors' ultimate weapon -- or the instrument of their destruction.In the tradition of Margaret Atwood'sThe Handmaid's Tale, Laura Bynum has written an astonishing debut novel about a chilling, all-too-plausible future in which speech is a weapon and security comes at the highest price of all.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this emotionally gripping first novel, Harper Adams, a Monitor capable of reading people's emotions, identifies enemies of the Confederation of the Willing, a nasty dystopian state reminiscent of 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale. Like everyone else, she has a "slate" implanted in her neck, primed to execute her if she utters one of the many words that have been outlawed or "Red-Listed" by the government. Pushed to revolt when her daughter's name, Veracity, is Red-Listed, Harper is recruited by the resistance and becomes their secret weapon. Bynum makes her protagonist's emotional turmoil painfully believable and creates a number of other interesting and thorny characters, but her plot is occasionally incoherent. Though the cartoonishly powerful Confederacy is never entirely convincing as a workable totalitarian state, its opponents also seem too quixotic and undermanned to fight it as successfully as they do. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Kirkus Review

Members of a knowledge-loving underground fight to bring freedom to the oppressed inhabitants of a dark dystopia. In the not-too-distant future of Bynum's debut, the United States has been replaced by the Confederation of the Willing, a North Korealike police state isolated from the world and firmly under the thumb of a few old men obsessed with maintaining their grip on the reins. They seized power after what they describe as a pandemic wiped out great swathes of the population; they hold onto it via a device called a "slate" implanted in each citizen's neck. The slate's main function is to administer punitive shocks to anyone who utters one of the forbidden words on the ever-growing "red list." Also enforcing the ruling-class will are Blue Coats, thugs employed to rape and murder those who deviate from the authoritarian rules, and monitors, whose extrasensory powers are used by the government to spot subversives. Harper Adams, a powerful psychic who specializes in reading auras, is a monitor, but she also has a conscience. When the government red-lists her daughter's name (Veracity) and kills her best friend, Harper decides to find and join the fabled resistance. Although many aspects of this totalitarian nightmare are familiar, especially the government's use of language control to limit thought, Bynum deftly paints the drab, fear-filled existence led by Confederation citizens. Harper is a compelling protagonist humanized by her numerous frailties. She is as doubtful as anyone that she has the strength to succeed at her self-appointed task, and this tension propels the narrative. In the book's final quarter, an all-too-simple chain of events leads to an unsatisfying resolution. Until then, this bleak vision of the future feels real and truly chilling. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Bynum's debut is a near-future tale of the U.S. turned into a dictatorship and surveillance state with every person's actions monitored by a chip implanted in their necks. Reminiscent of 1984, this Big Brother society is perhaps even more deadly than Orwell's version. Anyone speaking a forbidden word, for example, is immediately shocked by the chip in his or her neck, after which the culprit can be arrested or even executed. Harper Adams has been a dedicated government worker her entire life, never thinking of revolt; then her daughter runs afoul of the state: her very name becomes one of the forbidden words, and she is taken away to a new family. Not only will Harper's response to her daughter's situation energize the rebel cause but her special mental powers may allow her to overthrow the entire oppressive government. Suspenseful and remarkably realistic, Veracity is a must for science-fiction readers.--Moyer, Jessica Copyright 2009 Booklist


Library Journal Review

This chilling debut novel depicts a brutal world in which individuality is discouraged and speaking the wrong word can get you killed. Slates inserted into everyone's necks record each word spoken. Just two syllables of a Red-Listed word give the speaker a high-voltage shock, and further punishments, up to and including death, are brutally administered by Blue Coats with almost absolute authority. Harper Adams's ability as a Sentient Monitor, able to perceive people's thoughts and feelings, makes her a valuable asset for the oppressive government. Desperate to reclaim her daughter, Veracity, whose name was Red-Listed, Harper makes a daring break for freedom. In doing so, she discovers hope in her own strength and the love of a fellow resistance fighter. Verdict The first-person narrative starts out fast-paced and raw, depicting a country where independence is given up for security, but it becomes clunky in places as the plot slows toward the end. With echoes of both George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Veracity is a good match for readers who enjoy dystopian and speculative fiction.-Charli Osborne, Oxford P.L., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.