Jonathon Bridge has the corner office, the tailored suits and the impeccable pedigree. He has a fascinating wife, a child on the way and a string of nubile lovers on the side. He’s a man who’s going places. His world is our world: the same chaos and sprawl, haves and have-nots, men and women, skyscrapers and billboards. But it also exists alongside a vast, self-sustaining city-state called The Fortress where the indigenous inhabitants – the Vaik – continue to live much as they have always done. The Vaik is an all-female civilisation.
Jonathon’s arrival at The Fortress begins with a recitation of the conditions of his stay: he is forbidden to ask questions, to raise his hand in anger, and to refuse sex.
Jonathon has offered himself as a supplicant in The Fortress after his pregnant wife Adalia discovered the ugly sexual violence pervading his top-tier firm. She has agreed to continue their fractured relationship on the condition he enter The Fortress for one year.
Jonathon is utterly unprepared for what will happen to him over the course of the year – not only to his body, but his mind and his heart.
This absorbing, confronting and moving novel asks questions about consent, power, love and fulfilment. It asks what it takes for a man to change, and whether change is possible without a radical reversal of the conditions that seem normal.