Living on an island

23 06 2018

No Dominion by Louise Welsh

 

It is seven years after the Sweats wiped out most of the world’s population. Survivors settled on the Orkney Islands are trying to build a new society but their world crashes for a second time when the islands’ teenagers vanish. Stevie and Magnus are the only ones who can bring them home.

Stevie hasn’t been back to the mainland since she escaped to the islands after a desperate flight north from London. Magnus never saw himself leaving either. After all, what’s left for him there? But Shug was born on the islands and has never known anything different; has never left them. Until now.

And what starts out as a journey to bring home some young people intent on adventure soon turns into a race against time to find Shug before he comes down with the Sweats. Or worse.

 

The third in Welsh’s plague trilogy, following Death is a Welcome Guest, No Dominion is another fast-moving and entertainingly grim tale from Louise Welsh. The representation of a post-apocalyptic world is as convincing as ever and the narrative is at times gripping and at times quite moving. A fitting climax to the series.

 





Hello darkness my old friend

23 01 2016

Death is a Welcome Guest by Louise Welsh

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Magnus McFall was a comic on the brink of his big break when the world came to an end. Now, he is a man on the run and there is nothing to laugh about.

Thrown into unwilling partnership with an escaped convict, Magnus flees the desolation of London to make the long journey north, clinging to his hope that the sickness has not reached his family on their remote Scottish island.

He finds himself in a landscape fraught with danger, fighting for his place in a world ruled by men, like his fellow traveller Jeb – practical men who do not let pain or emotions interfere with getting the job done.

This is a world with its own justice, and new rules.
Where people, guns and food are currency.
Where survival is everything.

Grim stuff. But actually really rather good in a post-apocalyptic practical survival kind of way. As a read it is┬árelatively unchallenging but Welsh does a grand persuasive job of presenting a very realistic scenario in this the second book in her Plague trilogy. Particularly amused at the Sunday Mirror quote on the front cover: “utterly contagious”. Indeed.

stars-3-5





New plague times

10 10 2015

A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

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It doesn’t look like murder in a city full of death.

A pandemic called ‘The Sweats’ is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie’s search for Simon’s killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death.

It’s the first instalment of Welsh’s plague trilogy and something of a departure for her. A pretty engaging yarn with plenty of death but lots to keep things moving too. All quite scarily believable too.

stars-3-5





Deptford calling

19 01 2012

Tamburlaine Must Die by Louise Welsh

It is 1593 and London is a city on edge. Under threat from plague and war, strangers are unwelcome and severed heads grin from spikes on Tower Bridge. Playwright, poet and spy, Christopher Marlowe has three days to live. Three days in which to find the murderous Tamburlaine, a killer who has ascaped from between the pages of his most violent play…Tamburlaine Must Die is a swashbuckling adventure story of a man who dares to defy both God and state – and discovers that there are worse fates than damnation.

A really entertaining Elizabethan thriller which is brief, sparse and yet remarkably intense. Welsh is an excellent writer and this is an extremely powerful novella. To describe it as ‘swashbuckling’ is a tad misleading though.





Dem bones, dem bones

23 06 2011

Naming the Bones by Louise Welsh

SOME SECRETS ARE BEST LEFT BURIED. Knee-deep in the mud of an ancient burial ground, a winter storm raging around him, and at least one person intent on his death: how did Murray Watson end up here? His quiet life in university libraries researching the lives of writers seems a world away, and yet it is because of the mysterious writer, Archie Lunan, dead for thirty years, that Murray now finds himself scrabbling in the dirt on the remote island of Lismore. Loaded with Welsh’s trademark wit, insight and gothic charisma, this adventure novel weaves the lives of Murray and Archie together in a tale of literature, obsession and dark magic.

Terrific yarn this, extremely readable and very well written but really just a bit bonkers at the end. And the representation of academic life didn’t quite ring true. Well worth a read though.








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