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Arch-Conspirator    by Veronica Roth order for
by Veronica Roth
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2023 (2023)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, now brings fans Arch-Conspirator, another dystopian science fiction tale, but this time reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedy Antigone.

Antigone is the niece of the ruler of the last city on Earth, outside of which all is radioactive wasteland. Her parents were killed in the coup that brought Kreon to power. Now he has taken her and her siblings (sister Ismene and brothers Polyneikes and Eteocles) into his mansion, a gilded cage. Kreon has also betrothed Antigone to his son Haemon. The siblings are pariahs because they were naturally born, without genetic editing.

We alternate between the viewpoints of many characters. Antigone is shocked when Polyneikes gives her an Extractor, used to store genetic material in the Archive, but promises to use it on him if he's killed. Then he is, by Eteocles. Kreon has decreed Polyneikes not be Extracted, but Antigone enlists Haemon's help in getting to her brother to do it herself.

When Kreon finds out and plans to execute her, she demands a public hearing. She calls Kreon Tyrant. After Haemon pleads with his father, he relents enough to give her a very different punishment, creating a cliffhanger of an ending.

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