The Rig of the title is a maximum security youth prison in the ocean off the coast of Canada. The time is late 21st century, so that there is still a sense of familiarity, but it is not quite the world we know. The story starts with the arrival on the rig of Will Drake, a serial escaper from prisons across the world and yet we aren’t told why he was incarcerated until quite late on in the story. Gradually Will begins to understand the brutality of the life he finds himself in, but he also starts to make a couple of friends; Tristan the quiet cell-mate and Irene, who is an inmate working in the infirmary. Along the way, Will comes to understand that there is a mystery on board the rig, as some of the inmates are take through ‘the door’ and experience something that appears to gradually change them.
Joe Ducie has created a fascinating if dark and menacing story. I thought that I would struggle with this, but I found it really thought provoking. This is about personal freedom, how we react to what amounts to commercial terrorism and how important family and friends can be. It is a very fast and strongly plotted story. The main characters are well formed and we develop an understanding of them and their motives. Whilst this is very much a book that boys will enjoy, it will also appeal to girls because of Irene’s strong character and the excellent storyline. It is a story that I can really recommend and I look forward to reading more by this author.