‘The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf’ by Ambelin Kwaymullina is the first book in the Tribe series, a trilogy of dystopic speculative fiction. In this future world, it is three hundred years after the Reckoning. Survivors are divided into Illegals, Citizens or Exempts.
Ashala is an Illegal, who has the special power of Sleepwalking, as well as taking others along with her. She leads a group of rebels called the Tribe, who live in Firstwood. At the start of the novel, Ashala has been caught by the government and is interrogated at a detention centre. She is troubled by disturbing dreams and memories, but eventually is helped by friends, Ember Crow and Georgie Spider.
The role of laws, such as the The Natives (Citizenship Rights) Act 1944, to restrict and enable the freedom of certain groups of society in Australia is explored metaphorically in the series. For example, ‘The Necessities-of-Life Accords, that require the governments of the seven cities to provide food, clothing, medicine and shelter for all. The Benign Technology Accords, ensure that we never develop the harmful technology that had such disastrous consequences for the old world, like nuclear power, or genetically modified crops. The Citizenship Accords prevent Illegals from upsetting the Balance.’ (p 33)
Young adult readers will enjoy the fast pace and sophisticated exploration of meaty themes such as power, leadership, rebellion, freedom and the ethics of social engineering.
Ambelin Kwaymullina is descended from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Series Title: The Tribe no 1