I know it’s a tired cliche but when I was reading Colony I was reminded of Henri Charriere’s Papillion. There are similarities, mainly the fact that both novels deal with life on a penal colony and, at least for it’s first half, Colony is equally gritty and ragged.
The first half of the book focuses on Sabir, a french soldier, who arrives on the penal colony in South America and decides that his raison d’etre is to escape from it as quickly as possible. Eventually Sabir does manage to achieve this wish, but with consequences.
The second half focuses on a shady botanist called Manne. This time around he is approached by the island Commander’s wife, who wants to escape from her marriage into other pastures. Manne obliges and he suffers consequences as well. Clearly if you want freedom, there will have to be a price to pay!
This is a novel of breaking free of shackles, memory plays and important part in this book and it seems that most of the characters are prisoners of this mind trap and attempt to break free from it. Whether they succeed is a different story altogether.
Strangely enough, despite the fact that this is a gripping novel, I felt very unsatisfied after reading it. I wanted more. I felt that the characters weren’t fully developed, especially the commander and his wife and it leaves a sort of distaste by the end. Colony has a lot of good things going for it but unfortunately if the characters and some plot aspects ( let’s say the island scene – those who have read the book know what I’m talking about) could have had more depth and expanded.
Still with so much potential im sure that there will be a winner soon.
Also thumbs up to John Self’s blog, ‘Asylum’ for pointing out this novel to the blogging world!