The author's aim is admirable. The style is good and the action interesting, though there are some improbabilities. What is best is the exposure of the dangers of our present increasingly secretive, insidious society, watching, recording, stop-and-searching, bugging, and intruding into the everyday lives of the citizens of our country. The excuse is reasonable: we must protect ourselves from terrorists and the enemy within. Also, cctv, for example, is very useful in detecting and preventing crime. But power grows by what it feeds on. Scores of new acts limiting the people's freedom have come into force in the last twenty years. That is not to mention the secret machinations of the controllers. What we must most fear is what we don't know.
Paradoxically, the snag with this gloom-casting novel is its optimism. Despite the newly invented surveillance machines, the all-over telephone recordings, the accurate pin-pointing of where everyone is, our heroes and about a thousand of their supporters evade supervision and walk through police and military barriers as if by magic. Politicians wary of the new developments continue to function at Westminster even after they have been exposed. Suspected dissidents are listed, their life histories recorded down to the last pimple, their photographs distributed, but they walk through. In reality, the power mongers, if they finally take over, will not be so gentle, will not stop for a chat, will not reject torture and prison camps, as we already know. George Orwell's 1984 is referred to in this book, and that is surely a more realistic view of a dark future. Not a happy ending. But if The Dying Light is a call for us all to be more aware of the bad things that happen around us, it is welcome. And not a bad read!