Surviving The Evacuation, Book 1: London

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Surviving The Evacuation, Book 1: London

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...I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. Readers of horror, survival horror, and the dark side of speculative fiction should give it a look. ...

This is another story in Frank Tayell’s Evacuation series. I thoroughly enjoyed Zombies v the Living Dead, so when I saw this up for review I grabbed it, hoping this one was as good. I certainly was not disappointed.

A diary novel told in first person by Bill, campaign manager for an MP during the Evacuation crisis. Trapped in hospital after an accident, Bill is not evacuated when the rest of the country is. He chronicles the descent as the infection spreads, first marshall law, then the breakdown of civilisation and then finally evacuation – which fails, leaving him to make his own way out of a London full of the living dead…

It is beautifully written, moving and in places a disturbing read. Bill’s slow realisation that there is no help coming is realistic and unpleasant, and the author never shies away from presenting the hard choices to be made in survival situations. The plot holds together well, and I can’t fault the author’s use of foreshadowing: in my notes I complained halfway through about something I picked up on, but it turned out to be a plot point. The ending has a nice, if slightly, predictable twist, bringing the story full circle.

I will admit that I did skip a few pages early on – as a reader of the survival horror genre, I’ve read several trapped diaries, and this was fairly similar. This wasn’t really wise as there are a lot of clues as to what is really going on scattered through the pages. Once Bill left the flat the plot immediately picked up, and from there on I was hooked.

I actually prefered Zombies v. The Living Dead, if only because it had a dark humour this lacks. However I’d still have to give this is a four, verging on five. I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.

This is an excellent book, highly engrossing, and anyone who likes the zombie genre should definitely pick it up. Readers of horror, survival horror, and the dark side of speculative fiction should also give it a look.

Rating 4, verging on five.

Rating: 4
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