For Those in Peril on the Sea is a zombie apocalypse tale with a cool premise -- a group of survivors of the apocalypse creating a floating community on the water near a small island in the Abacos, fending off the infected, dealing with the rapidly-changing weather, scavenging abandoned boats in the docks and some of the smaller less-dangerous islands nearby for supplies, trying to maintain peace within the community as personalities clash and disagreements occur, coming up with ingenious inventions like garden boats to grow crops on to help them survive.
The story has an engaging introduction, giving the reader a creepy glimpse of the chaos that is the beginning of the outbreak through a succession of radio news reports. The zombies themselves -- people infected with an advanced form of rabies that fills them with anger and hate and makes them want to kill anyone who is not infected -- are scarily dangerous. They are fast, strong, and it is very easy for someone to becoming infected in an encounter with them. This adds a lot of tension and suspense to the plot, pushing the survivors off the land and into boats for fear of the infected population, forcing the characters to be super careful whenever there is a chance that they will run into the zombies. The detailed exploration of boats as a salvation in the zombie apocalypse is a fresh story element, and it works really well in this book.
The protagonist and his sailing crew all had likeable traits and I thought that they all developed realistically throughout the story. I found myself not wanting any of them to die as I watched them all grow close and find comfort and hope in one another. For Those in Peril on the Sea is a must-read, in my opinion, for any fan of zombies and survival.
As a long term fan of post apocalyptic fiction (The Stand, The Passage, World War Z etc.) I'm always keen to try out a new author. However, I must confess to a growing weariness with zombie fiction as it so often involves the same old stereotypes and locations - it's been done to death - no pun intended. So I was pleasantly surprised that "For Those in Peril" served up some genuinely fresh ideas. So often tales of the zombie apocalypse centre around a group of survivors trapped in some urban location trying to escape to some safe haven, quite often the ocean, and when they finally get their hands on a boat they either suffer some cruel last minute attack or sail off into the sunset. But what happens next? Well that's where this book comes in, exploring the consequences of life after the apocalypse. How do you survive when the land belongs to the infected? I must confess I've never really considered the ocean as an option (other than to get to an island) or what would happen to all those people out at sea when the apocalypse struck. Well the author clearly has and he's got some pretty interesting ideas. From the bio at the start of the book it's clear that he has a lot of experience in the maritime world and his descriptions of locations and vessels have a real ring of authenticity and help to bring the story to life. I also loved the idea of the "drifters" - a genuinely novel zombie archetype that is deserving of placement in the canon alongside walker twitcher etc. The story is fast paced throughout and of a higher standard that most debut novels I've read. All in all it's a thoroughly enjoyable read and heartily recommended - now I'm off to make some friends who can sail before it's too late.....