Outpost by Adam Baker
The book says:
THEY TOOK THE JOB TO ESCAPE THE WORLD. THEY DIDN'T EXPECT THE WORLD TO END.
Kaskar Rampart: a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean. A skeleton crew of fifteen fight boredom and despair as they wait for a relief ship to take them home.
But the world beyond their frozen wasteland has gone to hell. Cities lie ravaged by a global pandemic. One by one TV channels die, replaced by silent wavebands.
The Rampart crew are marooned. They must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone. They battle starvation and hypothermia, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way...
Imagine watching the end of the world on a TV screen. Only for even that to slowly fizzle away to nothing. Imagine being stranded on a rig, in the Arctic Ocean, knowing that sooner or later food is going to run out. What would you do? Would you give up? Or would you battle on to live, no matter what kind of life, regardless?
I knew this one would be a good 'un. I knew it. It's been on my wishlist a while - I got the feeling it would be claustrophobic and grim but it was so much more. I always knew these oil rigs were big but I never realised just how big until reading this book. You really get a sense of the scale of the rig, which almost comes alive as a character itself, it's so well described. It just makes the whole situation for this little group of people seem even more hopeless. You get a real feel of how hard a life it is on one of these things when one of the main characters tries to kill herself in the opening pages.
This was one of those books I couldn't put down. My partner was away for a few days when I was reading this so it was my bedtime read before lights out - it doesn't leave you. I would lay awake mulling over what was going to happen next and would have to switch the lights back on to carry on reading!
Throughout this book I was on edge waiting for that moment when it all kicks off, there's never a moment in the book where you can relax because the air is so menacing you don't want to be caught out. Of course when the end of the world is happening the dangers from the monsters outside are not the only threats you need to look out for. It's interesting to watch how people change when they realise they might not see home or loved ones again. Some people change for the better, step up to the mark. Some people... not so much...
This is the first book in a long, long time where I have really loved one particular character. Really rooted for that character. All the way through when things were happening, there were actually heart in mouth moments when I expected this character to snuff it. But then, with pages to go, I did what I hadn't done all through the book. Relaxed and thought this character was safe. This is where Mr Baker is pure evil genius. Suffice to say, you should never forget that no-one is safe in a zombie apocalypse. I still can't believe it. I even flicked through to see if there was a miraculous turn around. But no.
I'm making this book sound all doom and gloom (which, it is) but there were so many more levels, moments of humour, moments of sadness and compassion - even towards some of the infected. I cannot tell you enough how much I loved this book, I don't think I'm conveying it very well in this review which is annoying me slightly.
I will just say this: Outpost now shares top spot with The Well by Peter Labrow as my two favourite fictional reads of 2011. If I could only re-read two books from this year, these would be them.
Many thanks to Adam Baker for sending me the book and thank you for stopping by :)
Dark Outpost (Adam Baker)