The Olive Readers by Christine Aziz

The Olive Readers

Christine Aziz

An unusual book set in the future in a world with no past, no history, a controlled state where they produce olives. An undercover group are smuggling books into a secret library where they can be read to reveal the secrets of the past and gradually 'the readers' plan to take control. Excellent stuff and a worthy winner of Richard & Judy's How to get Published award. When I read this I thought it might be science fiction and perhaps it is but not in the usual style, I found it completely compulsive.

A familiar smell hit my nostrils and I inhaled its intense pungency with surprised pleasure. We had stepped into another narrow corridor which would be invisible to anyone either inside the room or in the outer corridor. I looked around me in amazement; a thin veneer of light revealed the spines of thousands of books pressed together on countless rows of wooden shelves. They coiled around the circular walls of the corridor like the ribbed back of a serpent, and were stacked on both sides, from the floor upwards to the very top of the leaning arch of the cupola. Incredulity robbed me of my voice. I ran my hand along a line of leatherbound books as if they were notes on a keyboard and shuddered. Each one was a death sentence. But at that moment I didn't care. 'Welcome to the library' Homer said, a ring of triumph in his voice. I walked away from him, wordless in a word-full sea. I stared along the shelves, overwhelmed by a new hunger that came from a famine I did not even know that I had endured.
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Explicit sexual content