Review: The Devil’s Highway by Gregory Norminton

Posted August 10, 2020 by Stephanie in Reviews / 11 Comments

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Title: The Devil’s Highway
Author: Gregory Norminton
Publication: September 6, 2020 by William The 4th
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Dystopian Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Purchase it on: Amazon | Book DepositoryGoogle Play | Kobo
Rating: 4.5/5

Three journeys. Three thousand years. One destination. The Devil’s Highway is a thrilling, epic and intimate tale of love, loss, fanaticism, heroism and sacrifice.

A Roman road, an Iron Age hill fort, a hand-carved flint, and a cycle of violence that must be broken.

An ancient British boy, discovering a terrorist plot, must betray his brother to save his tribe. In the twenty-first century, two people – one traumatised by war, another by divorce – clash over the use and meaning of a landscape. In the distant future, a gang of feral children struggles to reach safety in a broken world. Their stories are linked by one ancient road, the ‘Devil’s Highway’ in the heart of England: the site of human struggles that resemble one another more than they differ.

Spanning centuries, and combining elements of historical and speculative fiction with the narrative drive of pure thriller, this is a breathtakingly original novel that challenges our dearly held assumptions about civilisation.

If The Devil’s Highway doesn’t end up in my best books of 2020 list at the end of the year then I don’t know anymore what will. I’ve never read a book before that I’d call ambitious, but if there’s one then this book is it. I remember this was a random buy that was part of a 1 + 1 = 1 for free kinda deals. I picked it as the free book after scanning the synopsis at the back really quickly and it sounded pretty good so I thought  eh why not. I’m definitely glad I decided to get it because wow, it packed quite the punch.

The story is a mix of historical, contemporary and dystopian fiction with three timelines set over three thousand years. All three stories are taking place in the same area, just in different times. In the past we’ve got the story of a boy from ancient Britain and a Roman soldier finding themselves in the same dreadful situation. In the twenty-first century we’ve got a twelve-year-old trying to cope with her parents divorce who comes across a soldier who’s back from Afghanistan and struggling with his memories of war. And in the distant future that seems like a dystopian wasteland we’ve got a gang of kids trying to outrun a world that’s on fire.

If you know me well you can probably tell which timeline and was my favorite but honestly, I really enjoyed reading about all timelines and characters. The timeline set in the future was actually super intriguing to read because it was written in a peculiar kinda way where the english language had changed a bit. There were also environmental themes throughout the whole book and warnings about global warming, which is something I can appreciate because it’s a very important cause to me.

Overall, The Devil’s Highway by Gregory Norminton was a poetic and daring novel that was confronting as well as just wonderful to read. I won’t forget it anytime soon.


About the author:
Gregory Norminton is a writer and environmentalist born in Berkshire in 1976. Educated at Wellington College, he read English at Regent’s Park College, Oxford and studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.He presently lives in Edinburgh.

11 responses to “Review: The Devil’s Highway by Gregory Norminton

  1. verushka

    Oh my, this is ambitious — and the author seems to have pulled it off quite spectacularly. Thanks for aan intro to a new book and author!

  2. Not sure if my comment here came through, so commenting again to make sure – apologies if it ended up double!
    Gotta love when a random buy ends up being one of your favorites!
    This sounds super intriguing with the mix of historical, contemporary and dystopian.

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