"In less than twenty-four hours a vicious and virulent disease destroys virtually all of the population. "
Perhaps not the most imaginative start to a Zombie yarn, but I was determined to give ‘Autumn’ by David Moody a go recommended, as it was, by Brummie over at ‘Brummie’s Wargaming Blog’. What better opportunity to get to grips with a bit of undead nonsense than on a mini break to wet, Welsh, Wales. My previous experience of Zombie related literature tended to be limited to all American ‘daring do’ and It wasn’t until I read Max Brooks’ ‘World War Z’ that I started to understand that there was a lot more to the genre than copious amounts gore with the heroes often left surrounded by a pile of spent sub machine gun ammunition cases! I like a little more imagination to my undead literature but I’m also a sucker for a tall tale told in, or about, the United Kingdom; '28 Days Later' for example. To me it all helps to crank up the excitement and helps to get the adrenalin pumping, especially when you have to fight the crafty cadavers on home soil!
'Autumn' certainly delivers on one of these levels, based as it is in a British city. A group of survivors come together following the outbreak of the strange epidemic that leaves the majority of the population dead. More concerning for them is that some of the bodies begin to reanimate and ultimately start to attack what is left of civilisation. A smaller faction breakaway from the main group, unhappy with the defeatist mentality they are faced with and it is around their experiences that the book is based - unfortunately I struggled to warm to these characters!
Moody builds the tension nicely through the book, although it is slow to begin with. There are some genuinely scary moments punctuating the pages and it seemed to fit so many of the requirements that I want in a ghoulish guide, but I still wanted more! ‘Autumn’ is part of a series of books and this might be the problem in so much as Moody is making sure he doesn’t peak too soon, perhaps saving more twists and turns for the other stories. It could be as I read more of the stories that the characters become more established and richer in texture, ultimately making for a much more enjoyable read.
That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, I did, it is just that I was hoping for a little more. At some point I will need to get hold of the rest of the series and see how the story develops, but for now it's a fair three crowns for the opening gambit.