I first came across David Moody a couple of years ago when I first discovered Smashwords.com as a place to get books that weren’t Amazon. At the time Amazon only sold books with DRM that made it hard to get on my old tablet, David had a series out at the time called “Autumn” (more on that in another post) which I absolutely loved.
Since then his other works had fallen by the wayside and I recently discovered that his long out of print original book was back for sale. I scooped up a copy quickly and put it on my bookshelf.
To put it simply this book is about the end of the world. That’s it. There are no last-minute heroics that saves mankind, there are no elaborate plans that seem to plague books about the apocalypse, especially when Hollywood gets involved. Man’s time on the planet is done and this is a story about a couple of those people as the world dies.
Stephen and his wife are having a difficult time with their marriage in the aftermath of their miscarriage. She moves across the country to her father’s house in an attempt to put some space between her and her husband so that they can heal. While she’s gone, strange things start happening across the world. The temperature begins to rise, it gets to be over 30 degrees Celcius (which is around 86 Farheinheit according to Google) through the night.
Sadly, it takes Stephen something close to 2 entire weeks to realize that his life was better when his wife was around and to finally decide that something bad is happening to the planet and he should be with his wife. I was a little disappointed that it took him that long to begin the journey. There were a few things that happened that started to show signs of the end to me that I kind of felt was obvious but he just sat on the patio and drank beer with a buddy instead, but then again I don’t know that I would have noticed the signs had I have been living in the moment.
There was a point in the story where most people would have given up and sat on the side of the road with everyone else around as they all waited to die. Stephen was determined to tell his wife how much he loved her before he wouldn’t have the chance again.
At a few points in the story, Stephen talks about his father-in-law and how much they didn’t get along. As the story got closer to the end, and Stephen got closer to the town, you begin to wonder if they’ll be able to rekindle their relationship before they die. Without giving away too much, the father-in-law is a giant asshole.
I’m such a sucker for end of the world stories that build on human connection and struggle. This book checks all of the boxes for a good end of the world story.
- main characters separated by space as the worst happens, you can’t have a good story about the death of a planet without having the main characters reconnect.
- a daunting journey of self-reflection and discovery, Stephen spends the better part of the journey alone trapped with his thoughts and how he could have been more supportive of his wife.
- it wouldn’t be a story about the demise of civilization without running into a cult. The cult is as dangerous as you’d expect it to be with the end so close.
- a totally believable and realistic end of the world scenario that ends up giving you nightmares. With the way the planet has been changing, I can close my eyes and just imagine this happening someday.
- characters you end up rooting for because they need to be together. From the beginning, it’s obvious that Stephen and Sam need to be together. I spent the majority of the book rooting for Stephen trying to will him to continue his journey so that the book can end on a happy note.
- the actual end of the world happens. In the final pages of the story, as the events of the sun get stronger and stronger David puts alot of work into putting you next to Stephen and his wife as they use the last of their energy to find some place to stay safe for a few minutes longer.