Receiving a five star review for your book gives you a surge of adrenalin that shoots through your veins and gives your self-doubting, lagging heart a proper kickstart. You’re slumped in your wobbly chair (the same one you reclaimed from the tip and propped up with a prosthetic wheel) and you really don’t feel like starting another chapter of your new WIP because you’re riddled with insecurity. So, you make another cup of instant coffee and pop over to social media to check if the world is still ticking over or has ended, in which case there’s no point starting that next chapter. And then you find this:
The year is 2027, and conflicts between nations reach crisis point – nuclear bombs, nerve gas and chemical weapons, followed by meteor showers, wipe out the entire population of the world, apart from a very few. The End of the Road is the story of those who survive – philandering English lawyer Tony, two nuns in Liege, a scientist in Siberia who lost his family in the Chernobyl disaster forty years before, ditzy vlogger Bella in New Zealand, and a few others.
Some of the scenarios intertwine, and indeed they all do eventually, but I was completely engrossed in each one. There was not a single weak point; when I was reading Reggie, the caretaker of a billion dollar estate in South Africa, I’d got to about 86% and started reading it as slowly as I could because I didn’t want it to end.
At first I was a little confused because there are no actual chapters; each new scenario begins with the location and the name, and that’s all, and I wished there was a date, because I wasn’t sure exactly when they were all taking place, but I soon got used to the unusual structure, and saw that the actual time frame did not need to be stated.
The narrative is stark and shocking, but the characters and their backstories (just enough, never too much) are written with a light touch and, sometimes, a glimmer of humour – and at the end, even though humanity has finally succeeded in wiping itself out (almost), certain areas of hope remain.
This is currently tying with another for the ‘best book I’ve read this year’ award – it’s fabulous. Can’t recommend too highly. And the moral of this story is: don’t ignore those passing book tweets. If you think ‘that looks interesting’, go download it!
And this is from Terry Tyler, a best-selling dystopian fiction novelist, author of “Tipping Point” and “Wasteland”! Her whole review can be found here
So now, you jump up for joy (spilling instant coffee on the carpet your husband only laid three months ago because the old one was badly stained – by your coffee accidents), your will to live – and to write – returns. The world mustn’t end. Not yet, not until that next book is complete.