Just when you thought the boredom, paranoia and all round drag of lockdown had become too much, along comes the recommendation of a book about a virus hit dystopian world. Well, at the very least, you should have plenty of time to give it a read!
Apocalypse Z – The Beginning of The End is actually a book that I read before the days of lockdown. Coronavirus was a mere shadow on the other side of the planet when I started it; a twinkle in its father’s eye (that is if viruses have dads – hey, I’m no scientist). I must admit though, the parallels to what was clearly approaching made for an exciting read and although we were never heading for a full zombie nightmare scenario, the book was thought provoking to say the least, throwing up any number of questions and moral dilemmas for the reader.
Apocalypse Z is actually set in Spain – it was originally published in Spanish and was translated into English in 2012 – and we live through a global pandemic via the main protagonist, a lawyer in Galicia, in the North-West of the country. The book takes the form of his blog, which starts off with short entries, mainly about the minutiae of his daily life, but always with at least a passing reference to what gradually becomes a shocking situation in a former Russian state. As news leaks out, we gradually learn more as the tension grows. We’re told that it seems to have been a terrorist attack on a Russian military facility and informed of the chilling images of troops taking to the streets. But information coming out is highly restricted. Hundreds have died, but it’s on the other side of the world, right? Not for long!
Within a few blog entries there are mentions of ‘infection’ and ‘bird flu’ and it’s clear that whatever the problem had been in Russia, it’s spreading across the globe. The blogs get longer and the lawyer’s daily life simply becomes survival. Within weeks Spain and the rest of the world is ‘infected’, there is talk of hot spots, safe havens and it is clear that the situation is getting out of control. Clearly, life will never be the same again and our protagonist is fighting for his life.
From here on in things go from bad to worse and it’s fair to say that the action is utterly gripping. Whether it was down to my love of a good apocalyptic thriller or just that I was reading the novel while living through a global pandemic, I devoured every word, finding myself rooting for our hero as he went through all manner of high octane situations.
In many ways, it’s fair to say that the plot is somewhat far-fetched, but for me that’s part of the fun. We can believe in a teenage wizard, an and all manner of battles in space with hundreds of different kinds of alien life-forms, so why not the end of the world? Certainly, recent events should have at least made people take the possibility a little more serious. And in my opinion you definitely shouldn’t let it get in the way of a good read. Suspend your disbelief and crack on!
Apocalypse Z – The Beginning of The End is a thoroughly well written novel. Our hero comes up against many terrifying scenarios across the course of the novel and Manel Loureiro’s writing makes them all believable. Just when you think that there’s some kind of salvation, another twist comes along to keep you on your toes. There’s no padding here; just an all-action zombie romp to remember! And as I found out when I’d finished reading, it’s the first book in a trilogy, so I’ll definitely be ordering the other two!
Just for the fact that for a short while it made me wonder what if, I give Apocalypse Z