In time for the holidays, The Alpha Plague box set has been released. This is perfect for guilty pleasure, zombie reading.
Robertson condenses and stretches time, appropriately and necessarily, to capture the first minutes, hours and days in a zombie apocalypse. Falling within the broader category of zombie apocalypses, this take is toward the rage spectrum of “28 Days Later” rather than the lumbering Walking Dead variety, which makes it all the worse for protagonist, Rhys. The entire trilogy barely clocks in at 2 days in character time. Wonderfully, the narration style morphs as time goes on and characters have moments to consider their complicated pasts that overshadow their decisions and actions of the present. I’ve reviewed each book separately, too.
The Alpha Plague is an apocalyptic survival thriller that covers just the first few hours of a viral plague: Rhys and his kick-ass partner-by-circumstance Vicky in his quest to escape Summit City, the apocalypse epicenter, and save his 6 y.o. son, Flynn, who’s at school some miles away.
The Alpha Plague 2 picks up minutes after the end of the first book. Rhys promises his son to try to save his wife back in Summit City, thus launching this sequel which focuses on Rhys’ efforts while Vicky stays safely outside the containment zone with the boy. Rules for the behavior and spread of zombies start to emerge as Rhys logs more interactions and analyzes more without Vicky’s smarts to guide him. Also, the political intrigue storyline at the heart of the infection develops, broadening the world-view while layering on mysteries.
The Alpha Plague 3 keeps the frenetic pace of the previous ones, while weaving in back story for Vicky as Rhys and Larissa try to find Vicky and Flynn. In alternating chapters, over a year of backstory infills Vicky’s tale while only Rhys and Larissa’s tale furthers the present everchanging predicament. The unspooling of multiple time lines and shifting character relationships in Vicky’s political thriller thread reminded me of All the Old Knives by Olen Steinhauer.
This series is highly recommended.
[Check out my other reviews here.]