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A Society of the Future

Nathaniel M. Wrey
Nathaniel M. Wrey Author Interview

Liberty Bound follows Finbarl who is guarding a bastion of society when his life is turned upside down when he protects a boy from another guard. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

I drew upon observations from our own time. Specifically, I visited a local community hall surrounded by oppressive barbed-wire fencing. It struck me that the community reacted to fear, protecting itself against crime, but, in fact, doing more damage to themselves. They had avoided finding the harder, long-term solution, resorting to a short-term fix, with long-term negative consequences. I started to see other examples and thought about projecting it to its extreme on a society of the future, fear constricting and constricting over time, until only one community remained, epitomising all the consequences of this approach.

Finbarl is an interesting and well defined character. What were some ideas that guided his character development?

With the double-meaning of the books title, I wanted to explore the journey element both in terms of a literal journey and an inner quest of discovery. At the start, Finbarl reflects the flawed society he’s been raised in, brutal, stagnant, unfeeling and inhibited. Only the ancient books read to him as a youngster have seeded any independence of thought. However, when his eyes are opened by a traumatic revelation, his character can express and discover his true self. Though shaped by circumstances beyond his control, he finds clear purpose, discovers hope and love and by the end of the novel we see a very different Finbarl, passionate, vulnerable, inquisitive and selfless.

The novel explores society and social systems from unique angles. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in this story?

Fear is the central theme and how we use it as justification to imprison ourselves, limiting liberty. Walls exist everywhere in the story, literal and metaphorical, from the geography and climate, to social strata and psychological. A drug acts as the true ‘prison wall’ and this represents those things we think we can’t live without in modern society but which arguably do as much harm i.e. cars (freedom and pollution), gun ownership (protection and violence) or the internet (freedom to express ourselves and freedom to abuse others)

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am now working on the sequel to Liberty Bound, which is called Where Liberty Lies. I’m just over half way through writing it. With a good wind, I hope to have it finished by the end of the year. A trilogy is planned, each book exploring a key element shaping and inhibiting liberty.

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In the distant future, at the end of civilisation, the remnants of society hang on, having retreated behind walls, while prisoners roam the wide-open space beyond. But is anybody free?

Finbarl, a guard defending the walls of Athenia, fights to keep the flame of civilisation burning. It is the only world he knows and one he’s willing to die for.

But when he intervenes to protect a boy and his mother from a fellow guard, little does he realise his world is about to unravel, setting him upon a dangerous journey of betrayal, heartbreak and discovery.

Nathaniel M Wrey’s high-paced debut novel, Liberty Bound, explores how fear shapes and imprisons society and individuals. Liberty and the pursuit of liberty are portrayed throughout the landscape, the characters and narrative, exposing the complexities and contradictions of a topic as pertinent in today’s world as it has ever been.
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