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Solitaire [Mass Market Paperback]

Kelley Eskridge
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2024

Ren "Jackal" Segura is a Hope -- a special child, a powerful symbol of a new world government destined for greatness. But two months before she is to assume the role she has been preparing for her entire life, Jackal discovers that everything she believes, everything she is, is a lie. Convicted of a terrible crime, she agrees to participate in a "rehabilitation" experiment: While her body lies comatose for eight months, a computer will convince her mind that she is spending eight long years in solitary confinement. But Jackal's history as a Hope has given her strengths and skills other prisoners lack -- powers she will need to endure the tormenting loneliness, to discover the truth about her betrayal, and to rediscover her life, her love, and her soul in a strange place of shattered hopes and new beginnings called Solitaire.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Amazon

Ren Segura, Jackal to her friends, is the Hope of Ko Island, the world's only corporate nation state. Born at the right time, she is part of an elite group that will inherit powerful positions representing their nations in EarthGov. She has been groomed for the moment of her ascension her entire life--it is her birthright and her destiny. But a deadly secret makes her an inconvenient liability to her corporate masters and, in Solitaire, destinies are not always in the cards. Caught between corporate loyalty and self-doubt, Jackal finds herself cast away to an experimental, virtual solitary confinement program that will change her forever.

Author Kelley Eskridge's first novel is an intense and powerful tale of self-discovery set in a convincingly articulated future. She skillfully keeps the reader turning pages as Jackal's fate unravels. Meanwhile, Eskridge deals with issues of crime and punishment, corporate power, and even fame with a deft touch that keeps the reader painfully close to the young Jackal's journey into oblivion and back again. --Jeremy Pugh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This near-future debut novel tries hard, but doesn't quite amalgamate its ambitious themes. Twenty-two years earlier, the first Earth Congress declared all children born in the first second of the new year "Hopes," living privileged symbols of the new one-world order. The Hope of Ko, a vast corporate conglomerate, is Ren Segura, who chose the call name "Jackal" for the animal's terrifying wail, a self-pitying cry that sums up this uneven character-driven novel. Though Jackal is promising at project managing and facilitating, Ko maneuvers her into causing the deaths of her "web," her closest friends. Forced by Ko to make a deal to save her parents from disgrace, Jackal accepts virtual confinement, an experimental extension of Garbo, the VR project Jackal had previously been tapped to oversee. Experiencing years of solitary in only a few "real" months, Jackal emerges exiled to a nameless city, beset by flashbacks to her punishment and by interviews with an Orwellian interrogator/parole officer. This novel self-consciously seethes with anger and frustration at society's inability to ensure justice to the accused, rehabilitate the convicted, reassimilate the outcast and heal the hurt. Eskridge's solution to all these eternal social ails is conventional in message, though selective in execution: the redemptive power of individual in this case lesbian love. Overextended in feverish description, overwrought in its self-absorbed tone, this case study of the postadolescent psyche seems most, like its heroine, to really "vant to be alone." (Sept. 18) Forecast: An established writer of short fiction, Eskridge has garnered blurbs from the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin, Tim Powers and Vonda M. McIntyre. Whatever its faults, this first novel is likely to generate plenty of buzz as well as sales, supported by author appearances in the Northwest.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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SO HERE SHE WAS, FRAMED IN THE OPEN DOUBLE DOORS like a photograph: Jackal Segura on the worst day of her life, preparing to join the party. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different... May 18 2003
It took a long time for this book to take off and hold my attention. The first part of it is almost like reading about MBA school; nothing much happens and you don't get real attached to the characters. However, Eskridge pleasantly surprised me with a major plot event, which took the book to another level, and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of it.
It's not a extreme sci-fi book, and I realized at the end that one of the major currents in the book is the love relationship between two of the characters, and I think that is the real story Eskridge was trying to tell, simply using the sci-fi aspects to support it.
I look forward to seeing what Eskridge produces in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Book March 6 2004
I have finished reading Kelley Eskridge's Solitaire, and it was one of the best books I have read recently. Actually, I have been on a string of good books, and this one just happens to continue the trend. It features a young heroine, named Ren "Jackal" Segura. In the slightly futuristic world developed by Eskridge, Jackal is what is known as a "Hope". A "Hope" is someone born as the pre-designated time, in this case, the first second of the new year. Each pseudo-national entity has a "Hope" and Jackal is the "Hope" of Ko, the multi-national supercorporation that rules over the island of Hong Kong. Other pseduo-national entities include the NNA, Nations of North America. Sorry, Canada, looks like you got assimilated after all. When Jackal finds out her status as a "Hope" is a lie, she is devastated, but she keeps the secret and maintains the facade. Then, tragedy strikes. In a horrifying accident, 437 persons, including important senators as well as Jackal's best friends are killed and Jackal is blamed for the murders. Charged with 437 counts or murder and international terrorism, Jackal is sentenced to life imprisonment. She cuts a deal though and agrees to partake in an experimental program called Virtual Confinement, VC. Using electrodes hooked to the brain and a drug induced coma-like state, Jackal's mind will believe that she is spending 10 years in solitary confinement with absolutely no human contact, no amenities, and no way out. In reality, she will only be knocked out for eight months. During that time of VC, Jackal must confront her own inner demons, determine how she will survive and not go insane, figure out how to deal with the loved ones in her mind and generally come up with ways to pass the time. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous tale full of humor and heartache Sept. 15 2003
For her entire life, Jackal Segura has been trained to be Ko Corporation's Hope, those children chosen to be the leaders of a new world order. Two months before the ceremony that will begin her work with the global government, she learns that her status as a Hope is a lie. Forced to continue this lie, Jackal hides the truth as best she can, but a tragic catastrophe destroys her world and her identity as a Hope. She's manipulated into participating in a rehabilitation experiment where she's imprisoned in a virtual reality cell in her mind. Nearly driven insane by loneliness and her own demons, Jackal finds that her training as a Hope helps her through the ordeal. When she is finally brought back into the real world, she is a new person in a new land, and she doesn't know who she will be anymore. Jackal's journey to a new understanding of herself and to a reconnection to love begins in a place called Solitaire, where those once imprisoned in virtual reality prisons congregate. "Solitaire" is an astonishing first novel whose soul and breadth will delight and affect readers long after the final pages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Something different to think about July 20 2003
This book is different. But it details life in the near future as if it is ordinary and everyone understands exactly what and how things came to be. There are no retrospective explanations, about the origins of EarthGov, the rise of Ko Corporation, or the Nations of North America. They simply are. Our hero, and she is a hero, has a love relationship with another woman which is presented in a perfectly ordinary tone. The sex of one's partner is not the issue, just their commitment to each other. Solitaire is a book about one person's journey to realize her destiny, and we only see it through her. Ultimately, her personal choices will effect many, many people.
A difficult read, this book is fresh and new and a bit familar at the same time. The use of the VR technology for virtual confinment of long-term prisoners was inventive. The technology described a la Total Recall, is a way to make people experience time in a good or bad environment without going anywhere. It takes three-fourths of the book to get through the crime and punishment experienced by Jackal. The real story is in the aftermath, the coming to terms with life after 6 years being totally alone with absolutely no human contact, no human sounds, no pictures, nothing. I was challenged and haunted by this story. This is not a read for the beach in August. It was intense and absorbing and complete. This one is a keeper to return to again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say except...Wow! Nov. 18 2002
Imagine being locked up in a grey room without windows or doors for six years...
Solitaire is the first novel written by Kelley Eskridge...and it's a great psychological themed science fiction.
She shows us detailed corporate structure and the two-dimensional world of "Miss World"-like thinking.
The main character is a "Hope", a young woman bred to be the ultimate representative for a corporation named Ko Industries.
She has everything, good looks, a sharp mind a nice group of friends. Anything she needs is catered for by Ko.
She undergoes tough managment, advertising and financial courses and even etiquette classes. If she has the need they provide scheduled relaxation classes for her.
Then one day, the whole world takes a deep plunge around her...everything she had is lost, and soon even her mind is on the verge of total breakdown...
Confined to virtual-solitary imprisonment for years...she soon finds a new focus in life...keeping herself sane.
But will she regain everything she's lost? Read it and enjoy this awesome first novel of a very promising author.
I can only hope she writes lots of books in the future.
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