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Two Books in One
on 8 August 2012
I have seldom enjoyed a book more than this 'Frankenstein' overshadowed gem. Not an easy read but a rewarding one for those who persevere - trust me it's worth the effort.
Unlike the Hollywood treatment of instant global apocalypse, this is a slow burning story that manages to project the pendulum swing from optimism to growing despair and utter futility of effort onto a very understated backdrop of social disintegration - no overt riot, mayhem or looting is permitted to divert the main theme. I was astonished to realise how insidiously that sense of despair crept up on me as the story developed - surely the mark of exceptional writing.
Although I had a reasonable idea of the global plague storyline before starting the book I found myself wondering how, where and when the early narrative was going to lead into the main plot. Vol 1 and Vol 2 form what is probably one of the longest scene setters and introduction to the 'Dramatis Personae' ever written and could almost stand alone as a novella. In all honesty I did wonder at one point if the Kindle download was a technical mix up and I was reading a different story to the actual title! To the modern taste the eventual deaths of two main characters would be the start of the book proper.
I found the language refreshing in its elegance and style, contrasting with the modern devaluation (some say evolution?) of English. That said, a good dictionary is a handy tool to have on standby for some of the more florid passages.
This book is more satisfying than a Sunday roast on a table full of salads.