The Source by Sarah Sultoon #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the brilliant debut novel by Sarah Sultoon, The Source.


One last chance to reveal the truth…

1996. Essex.
 Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.


The Source is a powerful, gripping story by Sarah Sultoon and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to it. The novel takes place over a period of ten years, following thirteen year old Carly and journalist, Marie. In 2006 Marie is on the verge of breaking a big story. Both Marie’s and Carly’s stories are intertwined with each other. When we visit Carly in the 1990s, we see a very dark story begin to emerge and there are some hard hitting revelations.

I thought Sarah Sultoon’s characters really shone through in this book. I could see Marie’s determination to get the story she was working from out there. You can see that she really cares and feels for the victims of the crimes she is trying to expose. She isn’t just a journalist who is looking for their next big break. You can feel the horror of everything that has happened through her eyes and it made me feel and care for the characters.

Sarah Sultoon does tackle some horrific subjects, such as child abuse and grooming, but she does this sensitively. It made me feel angry as I read the scenes told from Carly’s point of view. I felt angry that she didn’t have anyone who was really looking out for her. She has a lot of responsibility for someone who is so young, including looking after her younger sister and making sure her mother is alright. It’s shocking when Carly’s older brother Jason, who is hardly around at all to help out with the family, suggests something to Carly and her friend that is so unforgivable. It’s hard to believe that such things do go on in the world. Sarah Sultoon does an expert job of shining a light on the sad reality. I really wanted Carly to get out of the situation she was in.

The dialogue and the short chapters made this book such a gripping read. The dialogue between the characters was so well done and it really helped bring them to life.

I loved how Sarah Sultoon pulled everything together and there were some shocking revelations, as the book reached its conclusion, that I didn’t see coming. I thought it was so well thought through. The Source is gripping and a thought-provoking. I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 15th April 2021

Print length: 320 pages

The Source is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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