by Karen East


In the middle of the twenty-first century, the War on Terror has been going on for decades, Major corporations control both the government and the economy, and the resulting relaxation of environmental laws has caused pollution to go unchecked.

The Author

Karen East

Retired from the practice of marriage and family therapy. She worked with American Indian tribes in the Midwest for nineteen years. She has two children, a grandson, and four great-granddaughters and lives in Northern Wisconsin.


What People are saying

James E Pete

Sanctuary Review

I enjoyed reading Sanctuary by Karen East. I’ve know her for a number of years and knew she was working on this. I was somewhat surprised, as I head the book. I assumed it would be from the past and some present things. However, it went into the future (about 40 years from the modern day), and it is ironic, how it affects the happenings occurring with Covid-19. In the larger cities and the precautions they have to have, just for basic survival. And yet, in our Tribal Communities, with returning to the Traditional ways… we have been able to survive in a unhealthy world. A huge lesson here to all to learn about the Indian/Native American ways….

Kat Kennedy

US Review of Books

Sanctuary Review

“We are at the mercy of Homeland Security and the major corporations that control the government.”

Janet Ryan, a journalist for the 
Minneapolis Herald, lives in an America that has changed vastly since the worldwide terrorist attacks of 2020. The government orders and controls life, with the Department of Homeland Security having vast power over citizens. In the twenty years since the attack, people have been relocated to gated communities, and their movements within the country are severely restricted. Pollution is so bad the ozone has been destroyed, with only remnants left to migrate above a scorched earth that produces no vegetation. People watch The Weather Channel each morning to know what strength mask is needed for the day. Food consists of tasteless imitations of the American diet. Those who fail to follow the rules are placed on security watch by Homeland Security, and disappearances are common. At age fifty-five, Americans are placed in homes where they are subjected to experiments. Though Janet was taught by her parents about how things had changed in America, she is the product of an environment that uses fear to keep citizens under control.

When Janet runs into her old friend Sally Marshall, she is thrown into an unexpected situation. Sally is part of a group that wishes to revolt against the strong-armed government. She proposes that Janet go to the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation in Wisconsin to interview Old Woman, a dissident who is to tell her the true history of the United States. The assignment is not without great danger, as Homeland Security tracks every citizen, and it is illegal for Janet to leave her restricted neighborhood without permission. When she meets with her contact, Antoine, whose home she is to visit, Homeland Security places them both on level-one security, making the trip even more dangerous. Yet, Janet is intrigued and agrees to go to the reservation to meet with Old Woman and spend a week learning the ways of the Anishinaabe. She brings back recordings of Old Woman’s stories to Antoine and others who wish to overthrow the government. Janet and the group are in danger of being arrested and killed unless they make the dangerous escape to Canada or the reservation.

East, who worked with Midwestern tribes for nineteen years, uses her experiences to create a fascinating dystopian novel. Her depiction of life in the United States is horrific. The land of the free and brave is crushed under the thumb of a government that rewrites history books and controls every aspect of life. Citizens live in fear of terrorism from both foreign attacks and their own government. Reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World, the author creates a world where individual freedoms are non-existent. Yet, the book is ultimately about hope. For example, the protagonist learns from her trip to visit Old Woman that there is a better way to live. The people of the reservation, having returned to the old ways, have fresh food and air. More importantly, they are willing to accept within their community those who wish to escape the iron grip of Homeland Security. The novel offers an intriguing glimpse into the culture of the Anishinaabe. It tells of their respect for nature, dreams, and the spirits of their ancestors. It is also a wonderful statement of the generosity of these people to those whose ancestors treated them as savages. The book is beautifully written, with East exploring the Anishinaabe way of life in a unique work that marries science fiction and philosophy.

crazy 4 bikes

Sanctuary Review

Sanctuary takes us through polluted haze to ceremonial smoke guided by the spirit of the Anishinaabe. Karen East’s background in the humanities of our two cultures and her ties to the Ojibway weave this story of desperation, hope and survival.

My Book


by Karen East

In the middle of the twenty-first century, the War on Terror has been going on for decades, Major corporations control both the government and the economy, and the resulting relaxation of environmental laws has caused pollution to go unchecked, All borders of the United States have been closed, and travel outside one’s neighborhood is often viewed with suspicion. The Department of Homeland Security controls the media, written history, education, and individual freedoms.

Available at

Author Review

by Karen East


A powerful dystopian novel offering a glimpse of what it would be like if major corporations and the government take control of our lives

Sanctuary by Karen East is a thrilling and enlightening novel that will put readers at the edge of their seat. Set in the future where freedom no longer exists, the novel is an eye-opener and will enlighten readers of the catastrophic effects if major corporations and the government are left unleashed and allowed to take control of people’s lives.

Dystopian novels are a dime a dozen nowadays, but Sanctuary hits differently because the scenarios described are not far removed from the reality we are experiencing now. Major corporations’ blatant disregard of the environment is paving the way for climate change that could be tragic for all of us. East clearly had that in mind when she wrote of the toxic environment in the novel. Her depiction of the environmental degradation and the loss of democracy is chilling yet seemed accurate.

The characters in the novel are well-written and multi-dimensional. We find ourselves rooting for Janet Ryan, the novel’s protagonist, as she discovers that there is still more to explore, and that freedom still exists somewhere. A skeptic of the movement she was lured into, Janet discovers and realizes that there is a different and better life in the Ojibwe reservation.

The novel is fast-paced and well-researched. East had written something captivating that keeps us informed at the same time. The story may be fictional, but the situations in the story are goosebumps-inducing and will make us think of the repercussions if we allow powerful corporations to take control of everything. The story is a glimpse of a bleak and dark future.

Sanctuary is highly recommended for lovers of dystopian fiction. A great read, this novel will make us think and question the motives of the government and the big industries that continue to gain more power every day.

© 2022 Karen East. All rights reserved.