“Autumn: Aftermath”
by David Moody
Published by Thomas Dunne Books (2012)
388 pages

What an adventure!!  If you, like me, have been reading the entire “Autumn” series by David Moody, this final book in the series is a bittersweet thing.  First of all It brings an end to the series of books where the dead have risen and only about one percent of the population have survived.  Now, before I go any further, I should clarify that this is not your typical Zombie Apocalypse novel.  While the dead do rise and there are a few survivors having to fight of the hordes of rotting, walking dead, they never use the word zombie.  In fact, the things that make this different from other zombie stories, is that the walking cadavers do not have the need to feed on the dead, and the infection is not spread and the survivors do not have the risk of being turned into the living dead.

This series is primarily about survival and how the interactions of the human race could allow us to destroy ourselves further or enable the species to live on.  The cadavers in David Moody’s book can kill but only by mere mass of thousand of bodies closing in on someone.  They do become violent when threatened, but they are not out to eat your brains.  So if you are ready to survive that then get ready to read an outstanding series about apocalyptic survival.

This is the fifth book in the series (you could almost say 6th because of another story that was released online, but maybe I’ll explain that more if I get a copy of that one on my Kindle) and wraps up the entire apocalyptic events and even attempts to explain why the undead “attack” the living.  The extra super cool thing about this book is that it fully explains and brings into the fold that last book, “Disintegration,” the 4th in the series.  “Disintegration” introduced a completely different set of characters from the first three books and I just assumed it was a side book which took place at the same time as the others.  But this final book in the series wraps them all up in one nice neat package.  (However, Mr. Moody, if you are reading this, there is room for a follow-up, that would be fun.)

While it was amazing to wrap up all the books and find out what was going to happen to mankind in a world overrun with rotting dead folks walking around, I was sad to see that the story was over and done.   The best part about the series was not the walking dead, nor really the survivor’s stories, the best part of the series and especially so in this book, was the descriptive writing by David Moody, that kept me in the story in all dimensions.  There were times when he would describe the surrounding areas covered in decomposing bodies that through his words I could actually smell the rot and decay.  In a similar manner I could hear the squelching of the people walking through the liquid depths of decay through fields where the bodies were decomposing and leaving a liquid slurry of rot.  At the same time as writing about these gory details the author also placed the reader into the heads, in a very realistic manner, of each of the characters and made it easy to understand why they acted as they did.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that this guy, David Moody, is the bard of zombie apocalyptic stories.

Okay the main story of this book finally converges the two parties mentioned before and brings in a few new characters.  As soon as you open to page one you will not be able to stop until the end because of the non-stop action and will to survive.  The first couple of books told of the group that started the whole walking cadavers experience in cities, a university, an army base and finally finding an island to settle on after clearing the few dead.   Book four took us on an adventure where a small group was surviving in the city, but when the dead overpowered their home base, took off and found a group holed up in a remote resort hotel.  That book ended with the hotel being overrun by the zom…oh wait…walking cadavers.

“Aftermath” takes us first to one of the characters from the hotel finding a small group of people surviving in a castle where the bodies cannot get inside.  When the winter sets in and the dead are frozen the group heads back to the hotel and finds the few survivors and brings them back to the castle.  In this castle there is a bit of a rift between 2 men who want to lead, one says they should plan for the future, while the other says no need to plan, just wait out the bodies.   When they make a trip to raid a town of food and supplies, one man, Harte, distracts the unfrozen dead so the raiding party can get back to the castle.

Now it’s time to bring in the folks that are on the island.  If you remember they have a helicopter and are still using it to fly to the mainland for the occasional supply run.  This time they fly to the mainland to find boats for future trips.  They fly into the same city where Harte distracted the dead, and find Harte still alive.  Harte tells them of the survivors in the castle and with the idea of adding more to the population of the island a few fly to the castle to bring the survivors to the island.

The leaders of the castle are split as to whether they should stay or go and a schism develops which further develops into a small war between the islanders and the castle survivors.  The outcome is a long battle for the survival of the human species.

While the zombies don’t eat flesh, this is definitely a book and series that any zombie lover should add to their library.

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