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The Water Thief Paperback – April 23, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


 "Profound... sure to spark a reaction" and "scathing, ceaselessly engaging" - Kirkus Independent Review

"A brilliant rebuttal of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged" - Clarion Reviews

Winner of the Kirkus Star and Kirkus "Best of 2012"

Forewords Firsts Finalist

"A powerful saga that deserves to be in every school and debated by any who question authority and elements of freedom in society." - Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Nicholas Lamar Soutter was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

He graduated from Clark University with Bachelors' Degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, and began publishing award winning essays on politics and the social sciences.

He was represented by the Donald Maass Literary agency for 5 years, and currently teaches a weekly workshop called "The Business and Craft of writing", helping writers to hone their skills, improve their work, and get an agent.

His latest book, The Water Thief, is a near future dystopian novel about a man trying to find his place in a world conquered by corporations, and was awarded The Kirkus Star in May of 2012.

Nicholas lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467972274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467972277
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Water Thief is a dystopian novel about a future where the corporation is the dominant organization on the planet. Your life is the sum total of your value to a corporation and everyone tries to maximize their value by ruthlessly competing with everyone else- family, friends, co-workers. The beauty of the book is that even though the premise may sound far fetched, in actuality there are many similarities with what is happening in the world today. Take the idea that a company can buy your 'futures'- your future productivity, and you end up paying dividend to that 'owner' of your 'stock'. This is not very different from the credit card industry and to some extent the student loan industry. Being pushed/manipulated/encouraged to sell your future for gratification/education now, but not being told about the years of servitude that will follow.
I really enjoyed 1984 and this book is in the same style, but more readable and shorter. I liked the detailed explanation of the world order, believable characters that either do or do not fit in the order, and the ending that keeps you wondering. Great book, would recommend it!
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Format: Paperback
It seems fitting that Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 and the mid-twentieth-century prophet of today's world, should have died this week. For those of us who ever doubted the veracity of his predictions, let us take a good look around, at a society that has grown increasingly alienated by endless reality shows on flat-screen TV's, a constant feed of iPod music through our ear buds, and subsequent self-medication through junk food and recreation drugs. Whether you like today's world or not, Bradbury saw it coming sixty years ago.

This is all by way of a preface to the rise of a new harbinger of what awaits us in the not-too-distant future. Nicholas Lamar Soutter's book The Water Thief depicts a world where Gordon Gekko's dream has come true: a neo-feudal world where deregulation has empowered big business, where small government has devolved into no government, and serf-citizens are held in bondage for life to the corporations. It is a world where nothing comes for free, not education nor the exchange of ideas, not water nor air. A dystopian novel this certainly is, but you couldn't call it science fiction, simply because its premise is already rooted in the here and now, and the signs of what we can expect in years to come are already clearly marked.

The protagonist Charles Thatcher is immediately likeable because he represents so many of us. He's a small cog spinning in a large, complex wheel. He's decent. He's disillusioned. We can relate to his confusion, his sense that there is something terribly wrong, if only he could figure out what it is. That is the insidious nature of The System: it creeps up on an unsuspecting society that is preoccupied with earning a living, paying off its student debt and trying to save for retirement before the age of eighty-five.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ever since H.G.Wells wrote When the Sleeper Wakes, dystopian societies have been a favorite subject amongst authors and readers alike. Twentieth century's writers painted vivid pictures of multitide of such societies and they let our imagination run wild.

After Battle Royale of Koushun Takami in 1999, the standard of dystopian literature took a deep plunge. With the release of the The Hunger Games trilogy, the quality of such works reached an all time low. The success of such books also make us wonder whether we are going through 'The Twilight' of dystopian fiction.

The Water Thief by Nicholas Lamar Soutter is a fresh relief. The plot is simple, and it takes us through the monotonous life of Charles Thatcher, an employee of a corporate giant, which controls almost every business. Every aspect of life is measured in 'caps' (or money), which warns us of a near future when clean water and air will be charged. Charles meets a woman, and she helps him to see through the corruption and greed, and makes him think of a free life. The culmination of the events is quite unexpected, and also difficult to guess. I would say that it was quite a cliffhanger.

But the distintive aspect of this book is the themes of business, corruption, greed, freedom and human life, which is explained quite in detail by the author. It can get quite complicated at sometimes, and I had to turn back the pages and read again. But this aspect of the book is what makes it stand out amongst such similar works.

Like I said before, the ending is quite unexpected. After watching Inception, I left the theatre with a heavy heart, trying to guess whether it was all a dream or reality.
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Format: Paperback
When it comes to dystopian type stories, "1984," "A Brave New World," et. al, there is always a lesson to learn or a possible warning about how certain extremes can create a bleak future. This book is no exception. "The Water Thief" tells of a near future where democracy is not only dead, but that it was killed by capitalism. I remember reading Ayn Rand's book, "Atlas Shrugged," and learning that corporations and the rich are needed for the world to continue to exist. This book approaches those ideals presented by Rand and smashes them down. In fact there are times when the author, Nicholas Lamar Soutter makes reference to Ayn Rand's capitalist classic, such as the Atlas square where a statue of Atlas is perpetually shrugging, and various other references that are fun to find while reading this potentially depressing, yet enlightening, story of what could happen.

In the bleak future of "The Water Thief," corporations or Corps run everything and the Leviathian known as government has been destroyed. Everything is up for sale, and if one is to survive Creds must be paid to purchase everything, even air and water. Everyone carries a badge that keeps track of their credits or "Creds." The badges are also a way for the corporations to track a person's every movement and keep track of licenses, such as if one desires to smoke, a license must be purchased and kept up to date. Parents sell their children to the Corps for their futures. So from the day you are sold you owe the Corp everything.

Charles Thatcher is a mere cog in the corporate wheel, he is a Mid-Con, which is pretty much equal to the middle class.
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