This is no utopia…
1996. Northern Israel. Lola leaves an unhappy home life in England for the fabled utopian life of a kibbutz, but this heavily guarded farming community on the Arab-Israeli border isn’t the idyll it seems, and tensions are festering.
Hundreds of miles away, in the Jerusalem offices of the International Tribune newspaper, all eyes are on Israel’s response to a spate of rocket attacks from Lebanon, until cub reporter Jonny Murphy gets a tip from a mysterious source that sends him straight into the danger zone.
When the body of an Arab worker is discovered in the dirt of the kibbutz chicken house, it triggers a series of events that puts Lola and the whole community in jeopardy, and Jonny begins to uncover a series of secrets that put everything at risk, as he begins to realise just how far some people will go to belong…
Firstly thank you so much to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me to be on the Dirt blog tour.
I was taken by the premise of Dirt as I’ve never read a book set in Israel, and I hoped to learn something from Dirt about this politically difficult area, the Middle East.
The plot is a gripping tale set in a Kibbutz (A kibbutz is an intentional community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania), involving a group of European volunteers who traveled to this so-called utopia, often running away from things at home, in the hope to have a “perfect” life with their Jewish and Arab colleagues. However, this is all brought to an abrupt end when first they are very nearly shelled (They believe that by being so close to the Arab-Israeli border they won’t ever get shelled) and whilst they are all sheltering in a bomb shelter a body of one of the workers is found in the chicken house.
The descriptions of the kibbutz setting are absolutely exquisite, I could picture the terrain and layout so well, Sarah has a talent for really putting the reader in the book setting. And these descriptions all really added to make this an unforgettable and tense read. Only let down by not having a map in the beginning, but google did help me! The tensions between the cast of characters are extremely well-written and with each page, you are more and more invested in the plot,I couldn’t put Dirt down!
The book builds to a brilliant ending and even I didn’t guess the outcome, but this is a brilliant thriller involving spies, damaged humans, and damaged relationships, Sarah has a fabulous spirit with the way she writes her cast on Dirt, making them ultra visceral and Dirt played out like a movie in my mind!
A superb 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star read and another triumph from Orenda Books!
Sarah Sultoon is a novelist and journalist, whose prior work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Master of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate degree in languages, chosen mainly so she could spend time itinerantly traveling the world. She likes running, Indian food, cocktails, playing sports with her children, and throwing a ball for her dog, the order depends on when the cocktails are consumed. The Source her first novel is currently in development for television with Lime Pictures.
You can buy Dirt HERE