Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Afterlight - Alex Scarrow
Mainly set ten years after the events of Last Light, its sequel Afterlight is a grim, depressing read. In a nutshell, Jenny Sutherland and her two children have set up a base on oil rigs about fifteen miles out to sea. There, they provide food, shelter and safety to over four hundred people, and this little section of Britain is probably the largest community left in the country. When a raiding party returns to the mainland in order to find supplies, they also find a Belgian man under attack from other survivors. A decision made here sets the plot in motion...and it's not going to be pleasant.
Alex Scarrow is not a writer who shies away from the horrors that always come when a group of people are put under great stress which is why I say the book is grim. But more importantly, it's honest. If this happened, people would act as they do here. Just as Scarrow showed in Last Light that it's every man for himself when we're up against the wall, Afterlight is a study of people looking for someone to blame when everything collapses.
If all that sounds heavy going, don't worry. Afterlight is exciting, moving and does what a thriller should: thrills. It's also distinctly British. Don't expect a Hollywood story. This is Mad Max territory complete with feral children, an almost constant threat of death, and the remnants of a society with no clear way through the post-apocalyptic Britain that may one day be a reality instead of just fiction.