In the future, an artist specializing in historical records creates a piece of art based on three separate accounts of the Pandemic. What follows is a patchwork tale of survival and horror as two lovers struggle to survive the undying dead and the collapse of an America turned charnel house. Told as memos from Ground Zero, and later in the journal of a Dark Tower-like quest by train and foot across a nightmare landscape of ruined cities and raving corpses, the three accounts reveal more than just the grim realities of society’s collapse. The Notebook meets The Walking Dead in this stained glass depiction of the end of the world as we knew it.
After learning about this book via a Tweet from BoingBoing, I promptly headed over to Amazon and bought it. I started it that same day, and blitzed through it pretty quickly. It’s an interesting read, offering something new for a genre and threw out some surprises. It’s an engaging, ultimately uplifting post-apocalyptic tale.
Told from three perspectives, in the form of three accounts from different people. The first is a consultant, who records voice-notes for whoever might find her phone, and also for her fiancee. The second is from the perspective of a successful Wall Street financier, told through journal entries, as he inexplicably (to his mind) survives the zombie plague ripping through Manhattan and his office building. The third is from a ranger in the post-outbreak, recovering world. Each of these accounts is connecting, and in really interesting ways — especially the final part. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t go into greater detail.
The first two accounts are really interesting. The first is presented in “real-time”, as the narrator basically explains what is happening around her as it happens. The second account offers a bit more of a back-and-forth, as the author explains what he’s going through, and remembers the horrors of being in the Manhattan tower block. I enjoyed the switch in styles, and also how the second account evolved in style — as though the author was getting more confident in his writing (which he does mention at one point).
Needless to say, this was a very good read. There were a couple of moments, once each in the first and second accounts, when the momentum slowed. Each time the story felt like it was becoming typical of the genre, however, Cole threw something into the mix that made it rise above the standard. Be it in terms of his prose, which is excellent, or events to force the reader to reimagine the world post-plague, and the situation the characters find themselves in. There are uplifting moments to offset the bleak nature of this changed world, and the end was particularly bittersweet.
If you are a fan of zombie fiction, then I would certainly recommend you pick this up. I enjoyed this.
Nick Cole is also the author of The Wasteland Saga and Soda Pop Soldier. I have both of these, so hope to read and review in the not-too-distant future. For more, check out the author’s website, and follow him on Twitter and Goodreads.