The novel follows Padma Mehta, a Union organiser who lives on a paradise planet at the outer reaches of the galaxy. The planet’s main export is cane molasses, which is used as a fuel for interstellar spaceships. Life on the planet is hard, but it’s better than a life of indentured labour working for one of the three major corporates that control most trade and industry. Like most of the residents of her planet, Padma is a ‘Breach’: someone who has fled an Indentured contract! Escaping to the protection of a labour union.
Padma’s dream is to make enough money to become a business woman in her own right, owning one of the planet’s rum distilleries. Owning a business would give her a measure of independence and rum distillation is one of the few areas where the planet has the scope to make profit independent of the corporate system. But when Padma, desperate to secure more new Breaches in order to obtain a crucial cash bonus that will let her buy the distillery of her dreams, takes a risk too far, she uncovers corruption that threatens the very fabric of the society she lives in. With the help of only a newly-Breached lawyer she must unravel the conspiracy and tackle a catastrophic threat to the whole planet.
Windswept is a fast-paced action thriller that delivers multiple twists and turns and an unrelenting pace. Padma is a tough, no-nonsense heroine, among a cast of interesting and diverse women (which is, sadly, still rare enough to be delightful). It’s a perfect rum-fuelled thrill ride.
Goodreads rating: 3*