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Five Minds by Guy Morpuss



The Earth's growing population has finally been controlled. Lifespans are limited to eighty years, except for those who make an extreme choice: to become a commune. Five minds sharing one body, living for four hours at a time. But with a combined lifespan of nearly 150 years.

Alex, Kate, Sierra, Ben and Mike are a commune. They have already spent twenty-five years together, arguing, reconciling, alliances shifting and re-forming. They travel to a Death Park where games are played in which extra lifespan can be gambled like money. The plan is to win time to upgrade their next host body. But then Kate accepts a dangerous offer, and one of them disappears.

Someone is trying to kill off members of the commune. Is one of them responsible? Or is someone else playing a deadly game? It's hard enough to catch a murderer. It's almost impossible when you might be sharing a body with them...

This brilliant murder mystery blends classic crime with speculative fiction in a stunning debut.



Wow!! An absolutely mind-blowing read. How Morpuss could even come up with the premise for this novel is totally beyond me.

Alex, Kate, Sierra, Ben and Mike are five minds sharing one body, each mind is allocated a four-hour slot of the day or night where they have complete control of the body they are living in. However, their actions during that time have a knock-on effect with regards to the rest of the group and specifically the person who follows. They can only communicate with the others through personal or group messages which they can only receive during their own four-hour period. The reason for living in this commune is through a choice they each made when they reached their 17th birthday. The benefits include living to the age of 142, every 25 years they get to choose a new body to live in plus they get the combined skills, aptitude and intelligence of the different personalities in the commune. The downside: they only see and control four hours in every 24 hours, they have to live with the different personalities sharing the body and have to deal with the consequences of the others' actions.

Sounds confusing - yes, but was it a confusing read - absolutely not. The writing flowed beautifully giving you enough information to totally understand the different choices young adults had to make once they reached 17.

  • There was the option of remaining in their own body and living their life as a worker, this option has no expiry date.

  • The next option was that of an android, this option involves uploading your mind into an android body where you won't need to eat or drink and will never become ill. You will have a life expectancy of 80 years.

  • Then there was the option of becoming a hedonist. This involves leading a privileged life where you won't have to work, will receive a generous allowance and have a lovely place to live. However, you will only live until your 41st birthday.

  • The final options were living as part of a Commune or termination.

This book really gets you thinking, not only about the choices you would make if faced with the same situation but also about how it would feel to have to live your life in this way. A futuristic/Science Fiction novel on the surface but at the heart of it a chilling murder mystery thriller.

Five Minds is nothing like I have ever read before and I loved that about it. It was like discovering something so unique and new that I couldn't put it down. I loved how the chapters were divided into each one of the five characters in turn and included their individual time slots, this really helped get to grips with how the commune functioned. I loved the dynamics of these five individual minds and how their relationship developed, especially as they never physically spent any time with each other apart from their first introduction before they joined the one body.

During the novel, the five are at the 'death park', a place where you can compete in games and win more time to add to your life expectancy. However, if you lose during one of the games you die immediately. For those living in a commune the odds are better, as instead of terminating your life you end your current 25 year cycle but can then move on to the start of your next 25 years. When one mind suddenly disappears after losing a game, the others are aware that something strange is going on as they are still living their current life and are not called to choose their next body. As another person in the commune vanishes they come to realise that someone is killing them off, one by one, but who? Who can they trust and what will become of them?

Five Minds was definitely a page-turner and a very intriguing read. I was hooked from the start and found it really hard to make any predictions about what was to come. I totally brought in to the whole premise of the novel and although the games are brutal and harrowing to read, I enjoyed trying to solve the puzzles that the protagonists found themselves facing in the death park. This clever, twisty debut novel is out of this world. Highly recommend.

Many thanks to Viper books for gifting me a copy of Five Minds and totally blowing my mind.

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