‘The Source’ by Sarah Sultoon | @OrendaBooks

Author : Sarah Sultoon
Title : The Source
Pages : 275
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : February 15, 2021 (ebook)


1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak …

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier.

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth and justice.


Here’s an author who apparently has absolutely no qualms about jumping right into the deep end by tackling one of the most harrowing topics possible for her debut novel. That right there is mightily impressive.

Even more impressive, I thought, is that none of the abuse is written down on the pages. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief because really, who the hell wants to read that anyway?! There are snippets of conversations, little references of sorts that paint the picture. One instance, that I obviously can’t describe, absolutely shocked me to the core. So believe me when I say that the fact that there aren’t any descriptions, vivid or otherwise, doesn’t lessen the impact whatsoever. On the contrary, somehow it makes the whole thing even more chilling.

I really enjoyed the glimpse behind the scenes of the TV newsroom. They come across as extremely authentic and it almost felt like actually being there. Chock full of action, chaos and backstabbing while everyone desperately chases the same thing. Be that a scoop, an exclusive, a story or a source. It often comes across as rather ruthless but in this case there are characters who are truly doing it all for the right reasons. Not necessarily to make a name for themselves but to blow the lid off a disgusting can of crimes against minors, to find the truth and to deliver justice.

With themes like poverty, grooming, sex trafficking and abuse, this was obviously never going to be a comfortable read but it sure makes for a compelling and thought-provoking story. The Source left me angry at the abuse of power and the cover-up, devastated for the long term effects on the victims’ lives and immensely aware that unfortunately these things have happened and continue to happen all around the world. Which is why it’s so important that stories like these continue to be told.

I really don’t know what else I can say about this one. The Source shines a truly unpleasant spotlight on the depravity of humans and if this “realistic fiction” doesn’t leave you outraged, then I don’t know what will. A remarkable debut from Sarah Sultoon and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy!
The Source is available to buy in ebook format. The UK paperback will be published in April.

Amazon UK | Bookshop UK | Hive UK | Kobo | Waterstones

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