Book Review – “Ashley’s Tale” by Mike Duke (2015)
Ashley’s Tale is an exhilarating novella, a tale of loss, endurance and the power of will.
We are introduced to Ashley, straight in the thick of an encounter with an as of yet unnamed assailant. She is threatened with both physical and sexual violence. We soon learn she is being held captive in a large workshop type area, belittled by her captor, made to feel worthless and weak. As the reader the escalation of the torment and violence has us at a state of unease. What is this man’s objective? What did Ashley do to deserve this?
This man knows everything about her yet she knows nothing about him, he even knows to bring up the dark depths of her past, the horrors of uncle Tim. With this revelation he straps her into a harness and leaves her with a choice; rape or a beating. Ashley chooses the latter, a harrowing scene but it doesn’t last long. This poor woman her fate in the hands of a mad man.
The man has his own motivations, he wants to train Ashley, to prepare her so she can challenge him; he loves a strong woman. This goes on for some time and we eventually learn his name; Jake. He teaches her to kill pigs, and to hunt and how to survive in the wild. With each day she learns and grows stronger, her burning desire to kill this man also grows by the hour. On a few occasions Ashley almost got her wish, but she is not quite there yet. Where will this journey of self discovery lead her?
Ashley’s Tale is a well rounded story, it mixes elements of psychological thriller, self help and spots of erotic fiction (confused boner naturally, I think that was the point). The intrigue is there and we are really behind Ashley is her endeavours to escape her captivity. Jake however, unveils his humanity over time, who really is the bad guy? Touches on themes of early childhood abuse, self empowerment andrevenge, it really is a whirlwind of a ride.
As it so happens, Mike Duke has since written a prequel story “Ashley’s Tale: Making Jake” (available here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GDHHOFM) and as of yet unreleased sequel “Ashley’s Tale: The Initiation”
If you’re into suspenseful thrillers you should really check out Ashley’s Tale, it’s a quick read that’s worth your time.
Ashley’s Tale can be purchased at Amazon