The Kept is a novel about family, about the things we do for the people we love, and the lengths to which we will go to protect them. Its also a story about revenge, and about how one action can not balance the scale of another.
Elspeth came home to her remote family cabin from a stay in the city, working as a midwife, to find her husband and four children had been murdered. Her last son, 12 year old Caleb, was nearly mad with hunger and grief. Mistaking her for the men who killed his family, he shot her.
When Elspeth recovered just a little, the two of them struck off on a long cold trek to the nearest city, looking for answers.
Scott draws his characters with fine lines, revealing their inner lives in action and gesture. He uncovers information slowly, so that when the facts are finally stated, you are surprised but feel like you also knew it all along.
Sadly, Scott creates these characters and then ruins them. Most of this book, people are starving, freezing and bleeding- or all three at once. The Kept is about family, and about revenge- and it doesn’t end well.
James Scott has produced an excellent first novel. I didnt precisely like it, because it was so bleak, but I still admire his talent. I am eager for him to write another book soon…maybe one with some hope.