Starting at what appears to be the end of the story, we first come into contact with Zachary, a man on death row for crimes so greivous that he’s about to be executed by the state. With only a short while left to live, a journalist visits him asking to hear Zachary’s story firsthand, wanting to get to the truth behind what has become a legend. Zachary is a man who strikes fear into anyone he comes in contact with, just what is it that motivated him to commit such heinous crimes?
Zachary warns the journalist that he might not like what he hears and that knowing the truth would also place him in danger. The journalist is resolute in his position – he wants to hear the whole unedited truth about the man behind the myth.
As Zachary’s story unfolds, we learn the truth of how he turned into the monster the world believed him to be and the reality is always much more powerful than the fanciful myths that others have made up about him. Zachary’s story is one of heartache, terror, repression, fear, and the will and desire to survive against the odds.
Though many of his actions are questionable, one can perhaps understand why Zachary committed such crimes. Persecuted by the state and fed a string of lies as a child, it’s clear to see why Zachary holds such anger within him. Aware that he and his family had always been viewed as different, some of things that the ten year old Zachary witnesses are enough to change a person forever. While on the run from government soldiers with his family, he uncovers a shocking truth that the state will ultimately attempt to hide at any cost.
At times brutal and unflinching, Escape is a hard-hitting read about the complexities of society, the human intolerance to that which is different and the power of propaganda against an unwitting population. Although intended as a sci-fi piece, Escape’s message also translates well to our own modern day society. How many wars have been waged over the persecution of a person’s religion and beliefs? Sadly, the answer to this question is pretty much all of them.
Escape has a powerful message about persecution, religious intolerance and governments employing the use of propaganda in order to bend their people to their will.
Escape pulls no punches in its delivery and is a fast paced and clever piece of writing. I recommend that you check it out.
Mark Gardner’s book, Escape, can be found here