The Poison Garden: A Novel

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Twenty-one-year-old Romy doesn’t remember life before The Ark, a community in North Wales committed to the teachings and leadership of Lucien, a charismatic leader who insists on the community’s preparation for the apocalypse and refers to them as the only real living left, while everyone outside The Ark are “The Dead.” This is the premise of Alex Marwood’s psychologically exquisite novel, The Poison Garden.

As the novel opens, one hundred members of The Ark are discovered dead, all poisoned. Signs of attempted escape, make this not a suicide plot but a mass murder. How these devoted followers of Lucien met this fate is the question at the heart of Marwood’s novel, and none of the explanation isn’t easy. In some ways, it has to do with the guards of The Ark, trained by Uri, Lucien’s biological son with a military background and hunger for his father’s power. In others, it all revolves around Romy’s mother Somer, who brought Romy to The Ark before Romy was five. Somer’s relationship with Lucien and the children she bears at The Ark pave the road leading to the deaths that open the novel. But really, this is Romy’s story: How she manages to live among The Dead after surviving the massacre and how she will make her life now that all she knew before is gone.

The turns in this novel were some of the most surprising I’ve ever read, and the ending left me breathless. If you have an interest in cults, in the dark side of human behavior, or if you are looking for an “un-put-down-able” book, The Poison Garden is for you.


Reviewed By:

Author Alex Marwood
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 400 pages
Publisher Penguin Books
Publish Date 2020-01-14
ISBN 9780143110521
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue February 2020
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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