I am thrilled today to be joining the blog tour for False Flag, book two in the Battle Ground series. This review may contain spoilers for book one, Battle Ground, so you might want to check that out first. Many thanks to Rachel Churcher, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.
Ketty Smith is 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.
The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.
You can purchase your copy of False Flag here.
Having loved Battle Ground, I was eager to get my hands on the second book in the series, and False Flag didn’t disappoint.
False Flag presents an interesting premise, essentially revisiting the story told in Battle Ground, but from the perspective of Lead Recruit Ketty Smith. I was fascinated by Rachel Churcher’s decision to separate Bex and Ketty’s stories into their own books rather than simply telling the tale from a dual perspective in one book just alternating chapters. This meant I went into False Flag with a pre-formed opinion of Ketty, and getting to know her properly was a total curve ball.
For Ketty, joining the RTS was a choice, a chance to escape her life, and performing well was an opportunity to make something of herself. As soon as I read about her life before the RTS, I felt more sympathy for her than I had dreamed possible while reading Battle Ground. Knowing more about her and how she has been treated throughout her life make a lot of her actions more understandable, if not entirely acceptable. Whereas in Battle Ground I saw her as ruthless and malicious, in False Flag I began to understand that she is vulnerable and scared, and I was reminded that she is little more than a child herself.
Starting from the same point as Battle Ground and covering a lot of the same events, False Flag really shows that there are two sides to every story. While Bex holds a strong opinion of what she witnessed in Leominster and the behaviour of the senior recruits, in False Flag we see a very different side to their involvement with the situation there. Nothing in this world is black and white, and I loved discovering the other version of what went on. Seeing a different view of the bunker invasion, and of Saunders’ bravery there, added an extra depth to the story and once again I found my opinions shifting.
I am totally hooked on this series, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.
She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.
Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the other blogs taking part in the tour for this brilliant book.