Apocalypse Paperback – 2 Jun 2005
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one of the truly individual voices of British teenage fiction (The Independent)
A gripping and scintillating novel from best-selling author Tim Bowler, for the first time in paperbackSee all Product description
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Kit and his parents are sailing around near what one assumes to be the Northwest Coast of Scotland in their boat the Windflower. Kit has been suffering from vivid nightmares and a fog unlike no other engulfs the boat. While steering, Kit sees a model boat floating in the sea, he reaches over to inspect it and sees what appears to be a man with his own (admittedly ugly - he has a large black birthmark down his face and neck) face clutching the boat from beneath the waves. His momentary lapse in concentration causes the Windflower to crash into a huge rock and they end up run aground on a nearby island.
The island isn't so big so they go off in look for help. Kit sees the strange man (who is constantly naked for some reason), bruised and beaten, trying to pull himself out of the water down on the beach. His parents don't believe him and continue their search for inhabitants.
They find them. But they are less than welcoming. And a lynch mob almost chases them off the island before a wise elder gives them the chance to heave-ho by themselves. That night Kit's parents disappear and he is left to scour the island on his own looking for them.
He meets a 15-year-old girl called Ula who is an outcast among the islanders. She's is suspicious of him at first but they end up sticking together as the islanders become increasingly murderous, the strange naked man builds a huge cairn, a sea monster circles the island while moaning long and terrifying cries and massive tidal waves bombard them repeatedly. Kit, Ula and the strange naked man are constantly put through unreal amounts of agonizing pain over and over and you think there's no escape and no answer to any of this madness.
And you'd be right to think that. Dozens of questions go unanswered in the last pages. Who is this strange naked man with superhuman powers? Why does he have Kit's face? What is the deal with the Sea Monster? What is the deal with the waves? Why is the sea on fire? Why does Kit have nightmares? Why does he have intense connections to all of this madness that Ula doesn't? Why the time travel? What is the world building up to at the end? You'll be asking all of these and many, many more.
It's almost like Tim Bowler had some half-baked idea and wrote it down without finishing it. But his agent demanded a book right away and he just popped the unfinished Apocalypse in the mail to him. To stick with so much heavy-going reading all the way to a practically truncated ending is well out of order. His subtext of religious futility is at once underdeveloped, incongruous, and perhaps even hypocritical. He uses fantasy when he needs it to work and ignores it when the story speaks for itself.
I stand by my theory that this book is a work in progress that was printed before he got the chance to finish it and wrap up the zillions of loose ends. To tease us with so much mystery and leave without paying the bill is criminal.
If it made sense this would get 4, possibly more, out of five. As it is I can only give it a 3.
It is also a good read, gripping from start to finish.
Having the main character being quite weak and helpless helps you to relate to him. So much description just helps to bring this story to life and leaves an imprint in your mind for quite a while.
This story is religiously based and needs you to think a lot to understand the ending.
I was satisfied with the ending and it explained everything to me as i wished. It also gave the impression that you are your own God and many people may doubt that but you have to find out for yourself.
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