What would an isolationist post-Brexit UK be like to live in? That’s the question posed by a new Young Adult series, Battle Ground, published by Taller Books.
Author Rachel Churcher extrapolates the arguments and debates surrounding our exit from the EU, and presents a dystopian near-future view of the country. In the Battle Ground series, Brexit leads to Scottish Independence, and to civil unrest. In an effort to protect the population, the government introduces strict anti-terrorism laws, and creates a branch of the Army dedicated to public safety. Sixteen-year-olds are conscripted into the Recruit Training Service to be a visible armed presence at cultural and sporting events, and on the streets.
In an echo of recent events in Sudan, the civilian internet is disabled, and mobile phone networks are switched off. Eventually the army is given emergency powers, and the right to vote is suspended. The slide into totalitarian isolationism is described in flashbacks, while the central characters get used to their new lives in the Recruit Training Service.
Battle Ground, Book One of the series, follows sixteen-year-old Bex Ellman as she is drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.
False Flag, Book Two of the series, switches the narration to Ketty Smith, an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.
For the author, a background in human geography and a lifelong love of Science Fiction meant that an extrapolation of the arguments over Brexit was the obvious way to work through her frustration with the campaign, with voter apathy, and with the decision to leave.
“I believe we are stronger in partnership with our neighbours, and like many Remainers, I didn’t see Brexit coming. It made me think about what else we could end up endorsing, and allowing, in this country. Government propaganda, outright lies, and an assumption that a Remain majority was guaranteed all contributed to the Brexit victory. I don’t want that to happen again, and I hope that the Battle Ground series will act as a self-preventing prophecy. I want readers to think about what they will allow their governments to do, and how they might influence future decisions. I want the books to be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks they can’t change things by voting.”
Battle Ground was published in July and launched at the Young Adult Literature Festival in London. False Flag was published in September, and Book Three, Darkest Hour was launched on October 17th. All three books gathered five-star ratings and positive reviews, and Battle Ground and False Flag both reached the number one position in two Amazon categories on launch day.
There’s more information on the Battle Ground series at tallerbooks.com/battleground, and readers can download a free prequel novella, Making Trouble, from freebook.tallerbooks.com.