Now that the re-animated dead are an ever decreasing threat, survivors must decide what to do next in the fifth and final book in Moody's (Autumn, 2010, etc.) Autumn series.
It's been 26 days since a contagion wiped out the vast majority of the human race and turned some of the dead into zombies. Pockets of survivors remain, however, emerging from secure hiding places long enough to scavenge supplies. Life is dangerous, as the zombies act aggressively toward the living, and zombie hordes converge wherever they perceive signs of life. But the zombies are steadily decaying, and before long they will be too weak to pose much of a threat. One group of survivors, shut securely in a castle, is just biding its time, waiting for the last of the dead to rot away before emerging to eke out a meager existence amongst the ruins. Their leader, Jackson, pushes them to plan for a post-zombie future that is very difficult for them to imagine, until a member of the group who was separated during a looting run returns with survivors from an island just off the coast. The islanders have cleared away all of the dead, and are working on setting up a self-sufficient society. The castle dwellers quickly split into two factions: one who thinks they should retreat to the safety of the island, and another hesitant to leave without an easy escape route. When the dispute leads to violence, the survivors must choose sides, and in doing so choose a vision for the human race's future. While the earlier books in the series were more focused on adrenaline-pumping escapes from the undead, Moody always took time for character development, and it pays off here. His world is well rendered and well thought-out, and by taking the long view, Moody gets to try something new: asking what happens after the reanimated corpses are gone, when humans must decide whether, after all they've seen and experienced, merely surviving is enough.
A fine study of the human race's chances in a post-post-apocalyptic world.