Reviewed by David A. Riley
Shaun Jeffrey has written an enjoyable romp through a post Apocalyptic world years after a zombie holocaust has devastated civilisation. Anna and her husband Isaiah live with their children in a tightly controlled community inside a former prison, safe from the undead that prowl around the outside world. Through a twisted theology the undead are regarded as gods because they are seen as immortal and any attempt to destroy them is regarded as heresy. Impoverished, living off what scraps of food can be produced inside their dreary concrete world, strict controls are maintained on numbers. For every birth there must be a counterbalancing loss in numbers. This is carried out through the use of a lottery; the names included normally being those amongst the elderly. The winner is honoured by being ejected into the outside world to become one of the gods.
Anna has begun a guilt-ridden affair with Roman, a leading priest. When she tries to end it Roman takes his revenge by falsely reading out the name of one of her children as the winner of the next lottery. Even though her young daughter believes she is being honoured, that she will become a god, Anna is distraught. Roman lets her know what he has done, intending to use this as leverage against her to resume their affair. This sets off a train of events that result in catastrophe for most of the people in the community and revelations about what has really happened as Anna escapes from their community with her children in tow, and Roman, her husband and a band of enforcers set out in pursuit.
This is a tense read, with plenty of action and credible characters. And a world in which it is often hard to decide who the real monsters are. Some humans have descended to cannibalism while others have succumbed to greed, enslaving others or selling them off as food. It is a harsh, cruel, merciless world in which there is little to hope other than to live through another day.
At approximately 75 pages, it’s a good, brisk read, with enough originality and action for those who enjoy a zombie story.