Title: The Stronghold
Author: Sebastian Bendix
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
18-year-old Bowie is the envy of his peers; the sharpest eye with a rifle, deadly as a viper in hand-to-hand combat, and set to marry the prettiest girl around. Papa Byrne, leader of the Fort Thunder militia, has high hopes for this rising star, sees him as the heir apparent to their Pacific Northwest island stronghold.
That all changes when a plane crashes into the island. Its sole survivor is Alexis, an exotic young woman who looks nothing like the fair-skinned people back at the Fort. Bowie brings her back to the stronghold, throwing the fearful community into chaos. Even his parents worry about what this will mean…
All fears are confirmed when an impromptu mission leaves a young cadet dead and Bowie wounded. Worse still, Bowie is being blamed for the death, framed by his former mentor and banished by a hung jury. The once favored son of Fort Thunder is about to have his eyes opened to the larger world – if he can live long enough to see it.
Fear is a powerful weapon, especially when a group of people hellbent on building their own utopian island wield fear to rid their society of those different.
The Stronghold is the story of Bowie, a young and skilled sharpshooter in the Fort Thunder militia. He’s got everything he could possibly want and his life is laid out in front of him. All that changes when Alexis crashes her plane on the island. Ignoring orders to stay away, Bowie pulls her from the wreckage and brings her back to the Fort. He’s intrigued by her as she’s nothing like he’s ever seen before. Her arrival creates all sorts of chaos to those living on the island and some even want her executed. Bowie is suddenly thrust in the middle and must choose between the truth and following orders. Is Bowie willing to risk his very life to learn the truth or will he keep quiet to protect life on the island and its fearful inhabitants?
Wow! Just wow! What a gripping dystopian thriller! I was hooked from the first page and loved all the twists and turns. While it reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, the story is very much a reflection of the world we’re living in. Fear against those different from ourselves makes monsters of us all and it’s this concept that’s throughout The Stronghold. Bowie is an amazing character and his growth is honest yet necessary. Fast-paced plot is peppered with intriguing characters and conflicts. Before I knew it, it was over. Highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Sebastian Bendix is a Los Angeles based writer and musician, as well as host of midnight horror film series, Friday Night Frights. He attended school at Emerson College for creative writing and spent his formative years in Boston playing in popular local band The Ghost of Tony Gold. Upon moving to LA he transitioned back to writing, contributing articles for the entertainment site CHUD.com and the print publication Mean Magazine. Stepping into the world of horror fiction, Bendix has found success both online and in print with numerous stories published in the genre imprints Grinning Skull Press, Encounters Magazine, Sanitarium Magazine, Xchyler Publishing and noted podcast The Wicked Library. Bendix self-published his first horror/fantasy novel The Patchwork Girl in 2013, and his second novel, The Stronghold, is a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that has been published and is available as an eBook and in print. Also an avid film lover, Bendix has a sci fi/horror script that has been optioned and is in development.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N