“Autumn: Purification”
by David Moody
Published by Thomas Dunne Books
329 pages

I’m continuing in my excursion into the Autumn series by David Moody, and with the third book out of the way, I’m more convinced that this is NOT a zombie series.  Although the walking corpses do prevail in these books, the series is more about survival on a post apocalyptic world than just the horror of walking dead.  Ever since book one I’ve been wondering why these meatbags haven’t been eating the living, but at the same time with the constant despair and need to survive guiding those that were immune to the virus, this series is just a good story.  My love of all things zombie got me interested in the books, but it was the excellent storytelling by David Moody that kept me reading.

In the first book, “Autumn,” we were introduced to Michael and Emma as a mysterious virus struck nearly 90% of the world’s population dead.  The deaths happened within seconds after contracting the virus.  Michael and Emma were among the few survivors that grouped together in a small town community center.  The two met up with Carl and decided that they had pretty much the run of the world since there nearly everyone else was dead.  When the bodies of those struck down by the virus began to rise and walk around the 3 decided to head off and find safety in an abandoned farm.  The bodies then actually started to attack, not eating the flesh of victims but just the mere mass of lots of bodies was enough to bring harm.  Carl tried to go back to the Community center but found it overrun with bodies and he finally fell to the horde.  Michael and Emma took off to find somewhere safe.

In book two, “Autumn: The City,” the story runs parallel to the first book but this time from the view of survivors in a large city.  This second book also throws in that the military had a bit of a warning of the virus and military personnel were immediately sent to bunkers before the virus struck.  The survivors in the city are holed up in a university but the crowding from the walking cadavers soon makes it obvious they need to relocate.  When the military decides to send out a scouting party to determine what has happened and the current status, two of the soldiers are left behind when the troop transport is overwhelmed by walking dead.  One of the soldiers has his protective gear removed and dies within seconds showing the virus is still in the air.  The second soldier, Cooper, discovers he is immune and finds the survivors in the University.  Eventually with the help of Cooper the survivors escape the University to find the underground military bunker, on the way to the bunker they meet up with Michael and Emma in a motor home.  The few survivors get into the bunker but not allowed past the decontamination area, now safe underground.

Now for book three, “Autumn: Purification.”  We join all the survivors as they continue to exist in the bunker.  Problems arise in the bunker when the now aggressive walking corpses are blocking the vents which feed air into the bunker.  The undead are blocking by sheer masses of bodies in the area, attracted to the living that are in the area.  The military tries to clear the vents but each time they go out they attract more bodies.  On the final attempt to clear the bodies, something goes wrong and the survivors must leave, able to save a few of the soldiers after the main bunker is closed to the outside.   In a convoy of the motor home, a prison bus and a troop transport they stop in a nearby town to regroup.  After clearing out a few animated bodies, the survivors spend the night in a relatively secure area.

The next morning a helicopter arrives in town and lands in the secure area.  The survivors from the bunker are told by the pilot of a plan to go to safety.  The safety comes in the form of an island which had a small population.  Once the few bodies are cleared the island should be a haven of safety compared to the mainland.  The survivors then only have to drive to the airport where the pilot is stationed and then, using the chopper and one airplane go to the island.  Not as easy as it sounds, especially with the dead becoming more self-aware.

What I really liked about this story of survival, is that David Moody uses the normal person as the main characters.  Not like other zombie movies.  Have you ever noticed how in other zombie movies your everyday average person suddenly becomes an expert marksman when zombies attack?  Not so in this book.  These people panic, don’t shoot straight, and often double think their movements.  Basically what your everyday normal human would do when struck by the sudden terror of not only being one of the last humans alive but also the terror of the dead walking around.

Now for the fourth and final book in the series, “Autumn: Disintegration.”

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