In the near future, 98 percent of the Earth’s population has been wiped out by a virus developed by the Chinese and inadvertently unleashed on the world. In the Pacific Northwest, one man, math professor Graham Morgan, finds the will to live.
Having lived through the nightmarish experience of watching his pregnant wife wither away and die, Morgan is now faced with the task of burying his beloved father. All alone in a world increasingly ruled by wild animals—and ruthless human predators—Morgan’s goal of making it to an old family cabin deep in the wilderness near a secluded lake is complicated when a woman leaves her 5-year-old son at his feet just before she dies. Morgan’s journey with the boy takes more than a few unexpected turns as they travel through the dangerous wasteland of what was once civilization. By the time they reach their destination, his group (which now includes 15-year-old twin girls whom Morgan courageously saved from the clutches of a madman) must come to grips with their new reality: Winter is coming, supplies are running out, and there may be a gang of killers living across the lake. Powered by adept character development and relentless pacing, this post-apocalyptic novel, the first in a series, doesn’t exactly have a particularly innovative storyline, yet the strength of characterization makes for a page-turning, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it reading experience. Still, some aspects of the novel could’ve been much stronger: The description of the post-apocalyptic world is largely superficial, the expected horrific imagery and overall dark ambiance noticeably absent. On a larger scale, there’s no real thematic profundity. Nevertheless, readers will find Morgan to be an endearing hero at world’s end.
The beginning of what could be a riveting apocalyptic saga.