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The Bridge    by Jane Higgins order for
by Jane Higgins
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a thoughtful (yet still action packed) dystopian, The Bridge by Jane Higgins. Nik lives in a besieged city. Across the bridge in Southside, Breken hostiles mass, desperate refugees from Oversea and from the spreading Dry. The city wants to reclaim Southside, whose residents are desperate to gain access to the city's resources.

Nik is a scholarship student at Tornmoor Academy, where he and his friends have studied hard, in hopes of working for the Internal Security and Intelligence Services (ISIS). The alternative is compulsory army service, the factories or the farms. Everyone expects Nik to be an ISIS shoo-in, since he and his girlfriend Dash have been neck and neck for top marks for years. But Dash is accepted and Nik is not - no-one can understand why.

Soon afterwards the Academy is attacked. Friends of Nik's die. After an ISIS agent interrogates Nik, he flees and rejoins surviving friends. When small Sol is taken by the Breken, Nik and Sol's sister Fyffe cross the river in search of him. They endure hardship, adventures and a great deal of misunderstanding, and learn a lot about their City's enemy along the way. Nik also finds out about his own history, which is not what he had been brought up to believe.

There are divisions in Southside leadership - some are good people, working for the good of all, while others seek power for power's sake. Tragic events ensue and Nik is blamed for some of them. A brave act of sacrifice makes a difference, but will it be enough? The Bridge is a thought provoking novel that portrays the destructiveness of cycles of hatred and vengeance.

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