The Last Survivors Book 1, image courtesy of the authors, Bobby Adair and T.W. Piperbrook
The Last Survivors: A Dystopian Society in a Post Apocalyptic World is the first book in the series and a collaboration between Bobby Adair and T.W. Piperbrook.
I had the good fortune to listen to the audiobook version of The Last Survivors, narrated by Sean Runnette. I have since downloaded the e-book so that I can reread it, I enjoyed this book that much.
Bobby Adair and T.W. Piperbrook have successfully created an intricate society and post apocalyptic culture where the characters come alive, have depth and the full range of human emotions.
The story is set in Brighton, and revolves around the 'cleansing' which is a ritual that each settlement undergoes during the year to inspect the towns people for the mark of the infected. They call it a 'smudge'. Once a person is infected, they are burned to cleanse the town of the 'unclean'. If they do not carry out the cleansing, the infected people would turn into monsters.
The monsters were once human beings who were infected by a spore that gets inside the body and takes root, deforming the human and sending them feral. The infection 'smudges' the person and leaves ugly hard warts on the body. I found the monsters to be scary and a little like zombies. The difference being that the monsters cannibalise humans, eating far more than brains.
The township of Brighton is run by three Elders, Father Winthrop, Minister Beck and General Blackthorn. They each play a pivotal role in presiding over the wellbeing of the people in their care. Father Winthrop is the spiritual leader of the 'word' which is much like religious dogma. Minister Beck is a man of science and has little faith or even less tolerance for Father Winthrop. General Blackthorn is the head of the defence force and military leader. He despises fear and orders terrible punishment on any citizen who breaks the rules.
Ella is a young widower raising her eleven year old boy, William. The day of the cleansing, she realises that William has the mark of the unclean. She struggles with the reality that will take place if she and William go to the cleansing ritual. In her desperation to protect William, she takes him and flees Brighton. Their story will put you on the edge of your seat as they dodge the authorities and the monsters to get to her relatives in Davenport.
The audiobook is narrated by Sean Runnette and you can download it via Audible or purchase it through Kindle. Sean Runnette brings the characters to life as he uses his voice to provide the listener with each character's individual nuances. It is beautifully narrated. Sean Runnette has a unique and interesting voice that pulls you deeper into the light and shadow of the characters.
This is a great book, whether you choose to download it onto your kindle or other e-reader, or if you listen to it on audio. The story builds up and pulls you forward and deeper into the characters lives.
Personally, I cannot wait until the second book is finished.
If you enjoy epic stories, dystopian societies living in a post apocalyptic dark age with a splash of science fiction, a thriller's edge and a lot of fantasy, then this is a must read.