The world has ended and the few who remain are faced with a struggle to survive, not only with a lack of food and heat (not to mention any real form of civilisation) but also against the hordes of shambling undead who look to rip, tear, kill and eat not to mention the possibility of an even more dangerous threat on the horizon. There are worse things after the end of the world than zombies.
One of the last remnants of the once mighty United States has gone silent, a whole bunker of survivors lost while another seem to have succumbed to the basest parts of human nature. Yet amidst this disaster there is hope from the most remote and harshest climate on earth. Marooned in an icy prison, a scientist has made an incredible breakthrough in the fight against the zombie "prion" infection. However unless these brave souls can be rescued soon this achievement will be sealed inside a frozen tomb.
This second Dying of the Light novel picks up right where it's predecessor ended and continues the journey into this dark, zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world where one bite is all it takes to turn you from a living, breathing human to a shambling, decaying ravager of flesh. There are few really impressive Zombie series, Mountain Man is one, as is David Moody's Autumn series and right up there with the best is this very series too. Each of these notes series concentrate on a different element in the sub-genre, "The Dying of the Light" doesn't deal with battling the undead hordes so much as it does on the individual characters struggles to survive (and that of the human race itself), holed up in bunkers almost as prisoners. The focus is very much on these characters lives, their loves, losses and how they deal with daily life in such a hostile environment.
Then there is the story, a well thought out tale that manages to emphasis the plight of the survivors while keeping the reader gripped to the book. It's got tension, humour, intelligence and above all is written in an easy reading style that belies the superb and talented prose - as Nathaniel Hawthorne once said "easy reading is damned hard writing". The author has managed to improve on his first book (itself a worthy read) with tighter narrative and steady pace. The story moves forward without treading over old ground and even though the author doesn't write a catch-up, it could quite easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel (although I recommend you do read the first).
The story is told over a period of 15 years and not only does this break up the story in an effect way but also adds to the grand-scale feeling, I loved seeing how the characters matured and their lives changed over this time.
I'm pretty eager to see where the author takes this series, the ending of Interval is enough to both satisfy the immediate story and yet keep you hooked to await the continuation of the bigger picture. Zombie fan or not you should read this book, it's fun, it's clever and will hook you in faster than that guy on River Monsters.
Written on Monday 13th May 2013 by Antony Jones.
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