Nick Adams is just a normal guy. He loves his family, appreciates his home, and covets his car. But he absolutely hates his job. Which is what makes it so difficult that not a single customer has come by his store today. It seems as though there’s a bug going around, something that has come out of nowhere and is keeping people at home. Still, it’s probably nothing to worry about. People get sick all the time.
And besides, things are finally starting to look up. Nick’s first customer of the day has just stumbled through the door…
So the paragraph above is the introduction to this book which is available only as an ebook and, at the time I downloaded it, was available for free. There is plenty in that first paragraph alone to make me want to find out a little more while also being slightly wary as it is obviously going to be another take on “zombie apocalypse” though think more 28 Days Later rather than Night of the Living Dead. As much as I enjoy a good zombie story, there are many more bad ones than good ones available on the market.
This story starts off by introducing you to the main character of the book, a pretty standard guy called Nick who is at work as a phone salesman. A few sick people start appearing and it is made clear quite early on that what is about to happen is related to a virus/infection and is not standard reanimating of corpses, well not at first (later in the story the raging infected, upon death, do start to come back). Very quickly the whole country, England, turns to hell and we are taken with Nick on a journey, firstly to try to get his wife and child (a journey that ends with graphic despair) and then as Nick attempts to flee the urban area he starts with. The story is quite frenetic and descriptively bloody for the first section, during Nick’s attempt to flee and he ends up in a small group of similar minded people on a bus. This group then becomes the focus of the story, rather than just Nick, as they try to find somewhere safe to hide.
Eventually, like all survival stories they find what they believe to be a potential safe haven. This time it is in the form of a zoo/theme park on top of a mountain. They just about escape the infected horde by being helped by another group already within the theme park and it is at this point that the story turns a little bit towards another common problem in these story situations – the living becoming more of a threat then the dead.
With a large but split group within the compound, greater detail is given to some of the survivors and though little back story is offered, the characters are described and explained exceptionally well and you do manage to picture them all in your mind. There is just enough detail given to the characters to really influence your feelings towards them and I found myself favouring some and really disliking some others.
The story spends a large piece of time then dealing with the problems within the group as they form mini alliances, supplies run low and attitudes become more and more volatile while the infection is a minor threat in the background.
Inevitably the human effect brings about their own disastrous problems and the book ends in a human versus infected versus zombie battle that is well described and suitably brutal and bloody leading to an ultimately predictable end but delivered with a nice twist.
All in all there is little to distinguish this story from the many others as it follows the same predictable path of infection – confusion – chaos – safe haven – humans turn on each other – everything gets messed up, but what the author has done very, very well is create characters you can love or hate. I liked the graphic descriptions of some of the deaths and really felt for the lead character.
One of the best things about this book though is that there is a little extra section after the end of the book that gives scientific detail on what the infection was how it worked and why it was reasonable to expect this to happen. This is called Path of Infection and adds a load of realism to the book and it is truly great to have a theory on the infection rather than a simple, they got infected so deal with it!
Not everything is as good though and I am hugely disappointed that it wasn’t proof read a few more times as there are far too many spelling errors, grammatical errors, missing words and duplicate words. I really like the author’s style of wording but it makes you feel like you are reading a mock exam essay when it is littered with errors.
All in all a predictable but good story with great characters. While it is not going to set any new standards for zombie/infected fiction, it is certainly worthy of a read and I think most people will enjoy the journey.
Ravage: An Apocalyptic Horror Novel (Iain Rob Wright)