The Last Plague: The Plague Series, Book 1 Livres audio Audible – Version intégrale
A plague has fallen across the land. Slaughter fills the streets. All seems lost.
After Great Britain is hit by a devastating epidemic, four old friends must cross the war-torn country to get home to their families. But in order to reach their loved ones, they must journey through towns, villages and countryside teeming with the monstrous Infected - mutated people whose only desires are to infect and feed.
Run and hide. Seek shelter. Pray for salvation. The last plague is here.
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Without betraying too much about the plot, this is NOT a zombie story and is far from average horror fayre. With this book, Hawkins has conjured up a legion of nightmarish creatures and unleashed them on England, sparing none of his characters from their murderous onslaught.
The fact that this is the first novel length offering from Hawkins is belied by the quality of the writing here, with highly descriptive narrative prose, leaving little for the reader to guess at. Hawkins’ particular style will sate even the most inured gorehound, with evisceration, death, dismemberment and the rending of flesh seemingly par for the course in this title.
On what may be viewed as an overly critical point, Hawkins may be guilty of overuse of some particular vocabulary here. However, it is a small point to note and doesn’t detract from the quality of the work. Thankfully, Hawkins has stepped away from making any of his central characters ex-special forces or gun-toting cops. The four men on the stag weekend are ordinary guys facing an extraordinary situation and subsequently, their thoughts and motivation are notable for being more realistic than perhaps those that may be found in other horror tales, given that one of the prevailing expressions of emotion here is absent in many similar tales: fear. Despite being a fairly straightforward action based plot, it is the reactions and interactions between the characters that really allow this tale to come into its own. These men are struggling to survive and make it home to their loved ones.
Described as “violent”, “gruesome”, “gory”; ‘The Last Plague’ weighs in at more than 500 pages and the author has lain waste to, at the very least, the south of England, with an army of monsters of indeterminate origins that’s only desire seems to be the consumption of human flesh.
If you’re not persuaded by my review then take a look at that cover. That beautifully horrific cover tells you all you need to know to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash and pick this book up.
Set in the rolling English countryside, the story starts off inconspicuously enough as four friends head off into the English countryside for a stag do celebration. Within the space of one day however, their world will be plunged into a maelstrom of chaos and blood as the populace is transformed into all manner of ravening monstrosities. What begins as a celebration of life becomes a desperate fight for survival as Magnus, Joel, Ralph and Frank attempt to find their loved ones and some modicum of safety.
Taking his cues from a whole range of influences, Hawkins delivers an utterly absorbing story that feels cinematic in scope yet strangely intimate in style. The influence of family as an antidote to the chaos that reigns supreme is of paramount importance here. Hawkins creates characters who are desperately trying to cling to some semblance of humanity in the face of forces that threaten to irrevocably alter it forever. In the land of the infected, home is where the heart is. Without that hope, existence becomes a lesson in futility. It is a point reinforced by the inclusion of “AWOL,” a novella that follows a soldier’s journey to reconnect with his ex-wife and child. It feels rather like the antithesis of The Last Plague’s underlying theme of the family and friendship as a means for healing wounds. Here, that sentiment doesn’t lead to salvation but damnation.
I can appreciate that you are probably reading this and thinking “well, that doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs” and you’d be right to an extent. The world represented here is a brutal, decaying wasteland where humanity is naught but meat for the beast. The horrors unleashed by the apocalyptic event, The Infected, are a riotous menagerie of warped and twisted flesh, evoking the best that body horror has to offer. Hawkins’ creates an overwhelming sense of being hunted throughout both stories with the result that you are constantly on edge about what horrors will next be unleashed. This grim and oppressive atmosphere is further reinforced by the brief glimpses of titanic presences in the sky that emphasizes just how insignificant humanity is in this new world.
However, Hawkins tempers his onslaught of horrors by grounding his world in the reality of friendship and family, creating characters that are recognizable and you feel invested in. Reading the two stories, you can’t help but want Joel, Frank, Magnus, Ralph and Corporal John Guppy to reunite with their loved ones and find some haven from the nightmare that has consumed their world. Alas, that feeling of hope progressively diminishes as you realise just how brutal and unforgiving life has become in this radically altered world. In the land of the infected, man is no longer the dominant species. What else can I say? This is a novel for those who like their horror visceral, raw and uncompromising. A bleak and brutal nightmare from beginning to end, The Last Plague is the business!
Without giving it all away the plot involves four friends coming home from a weekend away to find society collapsing due a plague that turns people into monsters. If I had to describe it in one line it would be 'Zombie apocalypse meets the creatures from John Carpenters The Thing.'
It has the brutal realism that you find in all Rich's work, at some times it feel almost like a documentary style telling rather than a fictional story; these are real people watching their world torn apart.
The descriptions for the infected and the state of collapse are superb, using just the right amount of words to succinctly and beautifully conjure images of tortured horror and biological nightmares but still leaving enough space for the reader to imagine more monstrosities around the next corner. The characters too are very well written, each seeming like someone you'd meet in your day to day life. They all have their own conflicts, desires and drives to carry on and as the story unfolds these are revealed perfectly.
'The Last Plague' is bleak and brutal, with an edge of truth that belongs in the best of realistic apocalyptic cinema (think 'Children of Men'), and you won't find any Hollywood-style cliches or set pieces here, just the struggles of four friends trying to survive as their country is eaten out from under them and everything they know is consumed and corrupted.
I can't urge you strongly enough to buy this book, you won't regret it!