Blog Tour: The Source, Sarah Sultoon

Book Review: The Source, Sarah Sultoon

The Source, Sarah Sultoon

Thriller: The Source, Sarah Sultoon

Blog Tour April 23, 2021


It’s amazing what personal context can do to one’s engagement with a book. The Source is a challenging, powerful, gut-punch of a novel at any time. When one is spending the weekend playing with his preschool granddaughters, it is almost overwhelming.


In 2006, Marie works for a London television station. She is part of a team doing an exposé on sexual trafficking and slavery in Great Britain. She and the lead reporter have successfully gathered information and secretly captured video that will be absolutely explosive.


Ten years earlier, Carly is a teenager being groomed for sexual abuse by powerful military figures. Living in desperate poverty near an army base, her “friend” Rachel has convinced her to come to the barracks and pleasure officers in exchange for gifts, money, and favors. Seeing no other way to care for her toddler sister, Carly participates in the abuse. When the vile hungers of the officers begin to focus on still younger children, including Carly’s sister, she faces an impossible situation.


These stories are much more intertwined than merely their subject matter, and as the novel develops we see the connections between the scandal that enveloped Carly and the sordid story that Marie is trying to reveal. The victims of both awful exploitations are voiceless and powerless. Their stories will remain buried until allies step forward to share them. Whether they are young women essentially kidnapped from eastern Europe or whether they are children forced into sexual slavery through their poverty and naivete, they are trapped and helpless without aid from outsiders. Yet the circumstances conspire against the trust needed to find those allies. To escape they must trust–to survive they cannot trust.


Sarah Sultoon has been an international correspondent and has seen some of these things up close through her reporting. Turning her pen to fiction allows her to tell some stories that simply cannot be told otherwise for fear of harming the real victims all over again. Yet, I kept having to tell myself that it was fiction. “Ripped from the headlines” is an overwrought cliche, yet this book walked a very fine line between being a compelling novel and being a far too true long-form article.


I honestly can’t say I enjoyed this book in the sense that it was fun to read. It wasn’t meant to be fun. In between reading sections (and I literally had to take breaks to maintain mental health), I was being climbed on by two very energetic preschool girls. My granddaughters are amazing (of course). They are innocent and loving and active and smart. They smile often, they hug freely, they enjoy saying, “I love you.” We dance. We play. We read. We snuggle.


And when I think of other children in the clutches of evil and perverted monsters wearing human form, I weep. My granddaughters do not understand my tears. I pray they never will.


I may not have “enjoyed” the book, but I am glad I read it. The Source is extraordinarily well written, tells an awful and painful story in compelling language, and shares the pain and desperation of these victims in a way that my male suburban middle-aged mind can identify with and relate to. It is an important and necessary story and this book handles it with both boldness and sensitivity. Sarah Sultoon pulls no punches, but this subject matter deserves no less.


Sarah Sultoon The Source BT Poster

Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for our copy of The Source, given for our participation in this blog tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other views on this novel check out the other bloggers on this tour.


The Source, Sarah Sultoon

Book Review: The Source, Sarah Sultoon

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