‘A wild, original, sure-footed feminist reimagining of the present and the past that brushes up against the mythical. It reminds us, eloquently and passionately, what is or can be, and in its depiction of a revolution becomes a revolutionary book itself.
A beautiful work.’
NEEL MUKHERJEE, A State of Freedom
‘This clever, strange and wonderful novel brims with mystery. A group of women recount their past and present stories, revealing their visions of the future. A rare book, bold and powerful.’
XIAOLU GUO, Nine Continents
‘Fantastic — a wonderful book. With intelligence, wit and zest, Cwen’s matriarchal dream shines a light on the oft-normalised distortions of our own reality, offers a bold vision of an alternative future, teases at our deep past, and subtly weaves together our environment and gender.’
LILY COLE, Who Cares Wins
‘A phenomenal novel showing us that learning to love our female selves is essential for survival. Alice Albinia’s diverse cast, from ancient Britain to contemporary Pakistan, step up to support each other, take down patriarchy and create a new collective story.’
FARHANA YAMIN, Woman’s Hour Power List: Our Planet
‘A superb book: original, fierce, elegant, and full of surprises from beginning to end.’
SONIA FALEIRO, The Good Girls
‘A skillful counter-history, a disruptive and compelling reimagining in microcosm of a society designed and controlled by women. Brilliantly weaving together historical material and a narrative of life in contemporary Britain — a superb achievement.’
DANIYAL MUEENUDDIN, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
‘Swept on the current of so many centuries, this transporting tale lands powerfully at the point where vision and errancy combine in pursuit of that one wants most: a place to truly belong.’
SHARIFA RHODES-PITTS, Harlem is Nowhere
‘An unforgettable story with a dazzling cast of characters who invert and recreate our manmade world layer by layer. A breathtaking, beautifully-told and profound novel for our times and beyond. I loved it.’
MIRZA WAHEED, The Collaborator
‘Glittering with beauty and aching with promise, Cwen speaks of the persistent human need for freedom and community, and of the clash of these impulses with power and authority. A story for our times.’
TARAN N KHAN, Shadow City: A Woman Walks Kabul
A storm, a disappearance, a band of women, and a remote island where anything is possible...
An archipelago off the east coast of Britain comes under female rule. Using resources traditionally the preserve of men — inspired by ancient British stories of islands where women ran society and controlled the climate — the women quietly take charge of the islands’ education system, businesses and civic institutions.
But a revolution by stealth is not enough for Cwen. She has been here longer than the civilisation she has come back to haunt. Her name has ancient roots, reaching down into the earth and halfway around the world. The clouds are her children, and the waves; and the islands she inhabits have always belonged to women. Now she has returned to hold them to account.
Following in Cwen’s wake, young climate activists stage a rebellion against the patriarchy. A grandmother bequeaths her sons’ inheritance to a feminist foundation. And a public inquiry is launched into the archipelago’s outrageous mutiny.
This remarkable novel is a portrait of a world on the cusp of change. Exploring female power and female potential, both to shelter and to harm, it reaches deep into Britain’s matriarchal past, to ask how radical we might be, if given the chance.