The Cruel Path by David J Normoyle
Poignant and stark, with moments of joy, this dystopian novella sets the background for survival, death and what is to come thirty years hence in The Narrowing Path. This is a glimpse into the history of Arcandis and The Refuge through the eyes of Ealnor, one of three brothers.
Teenage boys, those selected from the hierarchy of Arcandis society must walk the Green Path, and survive it. If they survive they will be future leaders.--the ascor. They will be amongst the chosen, certain of refuge when the surface of Arcandis becomes intolerable unto death. However the struggle will be ongoing, lasting a lifetime. There is always some one wanting to take your place.
The Triplets, brothers, have been (unusually) raised together as comrades, rather than potential enemies competing against each other for survival.
Sorani, Frodan and Ealnor. They 'watched out for each other,...cared for each other, and...loved each other.' In a society that uses anyone they can to scramble, crawl or kill to get to the top of the heap, this is a rare thing. Only two of the brothers will be able to go forward, to be tested by the Green Path. Certainly the verse from John 15:13, 'Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends,' springs to mind. This is exactly what one of the brothers contrives to do. However this leaves at least one of the brothers racked with remorse and guilt.
Having previously read and enjoyed immensely The Narrowing Path, in The Cruel Path we are offered another insight into this harsh society; presented as it is against the strength of love.
At the time of writing it's free on Amazon. Certainly can't beat that price!
A NetGalley ARC