I must admit that I am developing a bit of a soft spot for Zombie novels, I love the way that each I have read recently has something different to offer, from the pseudo first person account of World War Z to the subtle and gradual style of David Moody's Autumn, even though they are all descended from the Richard Matheson novel I am Legend (and there they were actually Vampires!).
The Dying of the Light (taken from that famous Dylan Thomas villanelle "Do not go gentle into that good night") is built upon the premise that the US military have been aware of this necrotic virus, a knowledge they have been keeping from the general population for over a hundred years - serious enough that they even set up a special branch called Unit 73 to police the brain eating menace. After the formation of DARPA Unit 73 was restructured as AEGIS and in the years leading up to the present they have been fighting a growing number of incursions on American soil.
Within this reality the virus is highly contagious - one bite and it's all over and there is a very good case made for exactly how it spreads and what it's caused by. As you might expect with such a deadly and virulent disease it was only a matter of time until it managed to break out into a serious threat and we begin our journey at the very start of this collapse, following the sole survivor of the massacre at Fall Creek as he joins the secret military group to combat the single greatest threat our world has ever faced, however it appears that his help may be too little, too late.
For much of the novel the story is narrated in the first person by the main protagonist David Blake, the lone survivor and one of those rare natural leaders of men, a character who can seemingly adapt to most situations and has a quick intelligent that is perfectly suited for the ever changing battlefield. The other main characters are just as well drawn, and together they form a brilliantly orchestrated unit of elite soldiers that still retain that all important humanity and vulnerability.
The level of detail and resultant military feeling is incredible, I would be very surprised if the author hasn't had at least some military training and this also includes the fantastically descriptive fight sequences, they are just incredible and makes you think you are in the middle of a Navy SEAL unit or Rainbow 6 squad.
Top this all off with seriously talented prose that feels almost movie like in places (would make one hell of a George A. Romeo inspired film), an absolutely corker of a storyline then you have the makings of one seriously good novel, it's one of the best Zombie novels I have ever read.
Written on Monday 21st November 2011 by Antony Jones.
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