The Maquisarde is the story of Ebriel, a woman who loses her husband and daughter in a supposed terrorist attack. Distraught with bereavement, she is offered the opportunity to join the Chain, a self-styled "resistance" movement. Running parallel with her story is that of James, a military officer with a troubled past of his own, who begins to doubt the integrity of those he serves. And then their paths finally cross . . .
I wanted to like this book better than I actually did. I found the setting problematic. The International Cooperative Alliance, where Ebriel and James begin, is made up of first world countries who have formed a protective alliance to establish a quarantine between them and other regions, which are supposedly racked with war and disease. But this setting is never delineated clearly enough to give the story a really solid background and highlight the differences between InCo and everyone else. Was InCo lying about the need for the quarantine or not? The bad guys are cartoonish, the good guys are undoubtedly heroic - there are few shades of grey in this story. Everything is resolved far too easily at the end.
However, the biggest problem I had with the book was Ebriel herself. For a character who supposedly embodies resistance, she's remarkably passive. She never questioned her life in InCo. The Chain found her, not the other way around. She contributes no great ideas, no special talents - she just exists to get sent on whatever mission comes next. It's James who saves her life and finds the evidence to destroy her enemy. This book is also emotionally hollow. How can we grieve with Ebriel for her husband and daughter when they are barely mentioned and her life with them is not described? How can we lament the loss of her old life when she seems to have no trouble adjusting between that old life and the new? Why bother making her a musician when music plays so minimal a role in the story? Ebriel goes along with whatever is happening then suddenly decides to do something different, but when we see no gradual change in her thoughts and feelings over time (and the passage of time is hard to pick in this book) - we are just told she now feels different about something.
I was disappointed with this book after the glowing reviews I read. It's a competent adventure/romance tale, with a minimal science-fiction element. Louise Marley does a lot of telling, but not much showing.