Bridge 108 by Anne Charnock

Europe in the late 21st century is shadow of its former self. Climate change has destroyed industry and immigrants are flooding the few remaining places where people have been able to survive. Caleb is a 12-yr-old boy who has been enslaved in a community near Manchester. He is newly promoted to head of designed for his boss’s recycled clothing business. His work includes the sewing of all the clothing and the directing the two other young men under him. Caleb also is allowed to go to market with Ma Lexie, but she tests his loyalty… she gives him money to see if he’ll run away. Yet, he doesn’t. It’s not until the young woman who lives in the tenement across the way lets him know that she is leaving… running… escaping… and Caleb joins.

Bridge 108 is a novella that is told from several different points, but Caleb’s is the constant. The worldbuilding is minimal as I believe it is the author’s intent to focus the story on the characters and their journey or ability to live in this post-industrial world. But even at that I felt some things were missing. For example, Caleb’s plight was not given the immediacy that I thought was needed to show his motivation to run. Sure, a character can make snap decision, but his character has to show impulsiveness or some sort of catalyst, which I didn’t read at times.

In short, these characters were intriguing as well as the premise, but the follow through was lacking.

3 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, 47North, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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