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on 30 October 2007
Alex Scarrow lives a nomadic existence with his wife Frances and his son Jacob, their current home being Norwich (you can`t get much more nomadic than that). When he left college he led an interesting life chasing record deals and the next 12 years in the computer games industry, which I suppose is the same kind of thing, chasing dreams and fantasy.

The author has spent a number of years researching an issue that affects us all. He has written a spine-chilling thriller that leaves the reader in no doubt, how fragile the human society has become and is now. It is only a nanosecond away from oblivion.

What leaves society teetering on the brink. The world's oil supplies. The book shows what could happen to society if these supplies were ever cut. It is of course a fictional novel but the story shows what could happen if somebody sabotaged the world's oil supplies. Oil a natural product that society has come to lean on so heavily. This is a terrific read and a really convincing story. Maybe, just maybe it could happen . .
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2007
There was a James Burke series 20 years ago that pointed out how interconnected the world really is and how just one circuit breaker plunged the North American eastern seaboard into darkness.

This books premise is that
a) we are absolutely dependent on oil
b) we have no idea how to survive if this oil is stoppped
c) someone thinks they should plan ahead for the time oil is no longer available

I read this book in a day because I could not put it down - the way society is said to break down so quickly when certain very basic tihings like food and water are gone - I can't remember who said we are just three meals away from revolution - this book brings that whole thing to life and potentially shows that civilisation is a pretty thin coat on some very basic needs

One of the best reads of 2007 for me
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on 11 November 2017
Excellent book that i could not put down.

Will make you think, and stay with you long after you've finished reading it.
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VINE VOICEon 30 October 2007
For his second instalment into the world of writing, Alex tackles something that has fascinated him for a few years since originally reading about it and boy does it show. The passion behind the writing of a possible uncomfortable world only a short time away, takes the reader upon a rollercoaster where they're never sure exactly where they're going to end up.

Add to that believable characters with personal issues and a realistic possibility of the events of tomorrow and this book is just something that will keep you glued to the last page, especially in light of recent worldwide events. Wonderfully creative, well written with a touch of the apocalypse thrown in and you have a tale to close for comfort that will keep you up at night wondering how far away this world really is.
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on 11 March 2010
What a great concept and scary squandered with trashy story and weak implausible characters. What should have been a wake call about the future we all face becomes a lame drifting story. I would not recommend. I feel betrayed and disappointed by what could have been a realistic and gripping glance at the future.
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on 17 May 2012
If you take time out to read one book this summer then read this!
This is how I imagined the end of this country and the rest of the world about 20 years ago. Alex Scarrow has written a modern classic.
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on 24 September 2007
Alex Scarrow has written a frightening story that may seem to have an obvious premise (in a nutshell, we're far too reliant on oil); however it's all the more frightening for how little serious consideration we give this issue.
Various events - it'll spoil the story to go into too much detail - result in the world's oil supply being more or less destroyed. Throughout the world and especially the UK, chaos and panic begin. Those with supplies of food and water are relatively prepared. Unfortunately, they're also targets for those without and any ideas of decency and civilisation go out the window in the struggle for survival. There is no 'Spirit of the Blitz' mentality; it's everyone for himself.
In the middle of this, Andy Sutherland attempts to get back to England from Iraq while his estranged wife works her way from Manchester to London in order to get to their two children. The problem is, someone else is after one of their children for reasons connected to the cause of the disaster. At the same time, the country is tearing itself apart.

Read the first couple of pages and get ready for a ride.
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on 6 July 2012
The story is based on an engineered world oil shortage and specifically how badly it would affect a developed country such as the U.K. The action is set in 2007.Chapter 12 has the P.M's advisors updating him on the crisis.P.60 "We import most of our gas and coal"."what about nuclear" "We produce less than five percent of our needs from that right now" "There's also a residual drip-feed of oil still coming in from the North Sea"
In 2007 Nuclear provided 26% of our electricity. We imported 21% of our gas but only 4% of our oil.
Due to the geography of the North Sea, almost all Norway's oil and gas were pumped ashore in Britain.
If the author had set his scenario in say 2015 he would have been far nearer the mark.
Similarly p 63 "Your basic food stocks like wheat,grains,root crops, meat...We don't grow that kind of stuff over here any more"
in 2007 we were self sufficient in grain, exporting wheat, barley and oats and importing maize and rice.
We imported a quarter of our potatoes,60%of our vegetables and vegetable oils,45% of our meat and 15% of our eggs and milk.
We usually had a surplus of pulses (peas,beans etc.)Our worse deficit was fruit-95% imported( citrus,bananas,pineapple etc)
We also imported half our fish and 40% of our sugar.
Provided we maintained our energy needs, we would be able to feed ourselves though not quite as well.
Nonetheless the book does raise a valid point about the dangers of over-reliance on a fragile global supply chain.

Two minor quibbles, p.260 "we're as island of 65 million" 2007 official population just over 61 million.
P.387 "..over Hungary right now,not far off Bucharest" Indeed not but Budapest was probably intended.

A recommended read, as it is well-paced.
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on 24 September 2012
I couldn't put this down. And when I wasn't reading it, I was worrying about what "was happening" and if the various characters "would be ok". In other words, total suspension of disbelief as I spent a few days tied to the story.

Scarrow writes with an immediacy that had me gripping the book in a tight hot hold, hardly daring to breath. I had this book for a long time and was put off by the 1-star reviews but once I started I was hooked. I liked the main characters, I liked the way Scarrow wasn't afraid to kill off some good characters before they had much chance to develop (I found that realistic) and sometimes in dumb ways.

OK, so it's a page turner. Is it realistic? No, probably not. But it had me constantly wondering how my family and I would survive in a world out of control as described here. I lay awake at night picturing scenarios.

Oh, and I'm off to change to a power supplier that uses 100% renewable energy sources such as wind power. We are way too dependent on oil. OK, so the idea of some unknown powerful group orchestrating the whole thing is kind of silly, but hey, that's just a back story and not really the point of it all. It's just a device to pin the story on, and I'm ok with that. But the real fact of the world's total dependence on oil supplies that could be stopped within days or weeks is true and scary.

Or maybe I've been reading WAY too many apocalyptic novels lately and it's starting to make me paranoid. I'll just quickly read the sequel (I MUST find out what happens in the next one...) Then I'll definitely calm down with a few tai chi sessions and get back to my 19th century novels.
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VINE VOICEon 26 November 2008
I thought Scarrow's first novel was okay and showed potential here he delivers on that potential and then some....
This is scary stuff, I have lost count of the thrillers I have read where the tag line suggests a chilling view of what could happen, but this struck me as being exactly that.
Imagine how long out society would survive if the oil stopped flowing? Well in this novel, an orchestrated series of events sets off civil war in the Middle East, and key sites are targeted with the result that the oil stops and in very short order, society breaks down.
The story is set around a family, an oil consultant caught out in the Middle East having to fight his way to safety with a small group of British troops, his wife caught in Manchester and trying to get south to their son and daughter, and the daughter trying to protect her brother from a society that has gone feral. The story whips through the three perspectives as the first days go by and they all try to find their way to safety and each-other. Against this backdrop is the conspiracy that has brought about the events and the sinister plans that a small group of people have.
This is scary stuff indeed and an absolute page turner. I hope this is not as realistic as it sounds, because if it is, we are in big trouble.
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