Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater is one part zombie apocalypse horror, one part love story and one part science fiction. As you may know by now, I am a big fan of the novels of Rhiannon Frater. Her zombie trilogy, As the World Dies was outstanding and I am eagerly awaiting part three of her vampire trilogy Pretty When She (Dies, Kills and Destroys). The Last Bastion of the Living is a stand alone novel and because it is part science fiction is very different from any other zombie apocalypse novel that I have read.
The blurb on the back cover sets the scene very well. "A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity's last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources... and dwindling hope."
"Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is their only happiness."
"Then one day, Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energising the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards for success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction."
The front cover of the novel shows Maria in a high-tech skintight costume holding a special zombie killing blade. She looks a lot like Selene (Kate Beckinsale) from the Underworld films, so you just know she's going to be a hard as nails, kick-ass killer... and she is!
I won't say anything else about the plot but the origin of the Inferi Scourge and why Maria is so successful at fighting them is very interesting. I absolutely adored this book, simply because it was so refreshingly different. Yes, the idea of a small band of survivors trying to survive against a relentless horde of zombies has been done to death many times. But full marks to Rhiannon for giving this tale such a different twist. The three elements of the story - romance, science fiction and zombie horror combine remarkably well and kept my interest high from start to finish. If you are looking for something different in your zombie horror fiction then I urge you to give this novel a try. I liked it so much that I'll give it a 9 out of 10 rating.

22 comments:

  1. My arm arrived in the post this morning (That should be sufficiently cryptic for the casual reader!!) Many Thanks.

    This seems like a book I should look out for. Nice one Bryan.

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    1. Good to hear about the arm, Clint. Alas, I didn't get a shotgun arm, as I'd have sent you that as well. I did get an arm that I hadn't seen amongst yours or my previous ones and that was holding a length of chain. Very usable. I'm going to be left with some spare bikers and their weapons as I want to make four bikes without riders (two normal bikes and two chopper bikes). Incredibly, I don't have any riderless bikes in my collection, so I'll be able to rectify that oversight with this set.

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    2. Reaper do a riderless chopper btw

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    3. Thanks for the info, Joe. I've been avoiding Reaper lately as they have far too many figures that I want to buy! More than likely I'll buy two from Reaper; one to keep riderless and one to add one of my spare West Wind riders to.

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    4. Well It does sound like you have confirmed the randomness of arms! Which is good. I'd have a look and see if you could make any of the bikers pillion passengers. If not maybe the can sit in a car or van. They would make good sitting mad max car crew. I am sure you have already cosidered that though.

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    5. Pillion passengers is a good idea, Clint... if they fit! To be honest, I hadn't thought about using them as seated car crew, but again, it's a good idea.

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  2. Sounds like a good read Bryan, 9/10 thats not a bad score.

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    1. 9/10 is a bloody good score, mate. It well merits that score, in my opinion, but I thought it just wasn't good enough for a perfect 10/10.

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  3. Sounds like the plot for a computer rpg to me! (that's not a bad thing btw!)

    Thanks for another good review Bryan and happy new year to you!

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    1. Actually, as I was reading it, Colin, I couldn't help thinking what a great, action-packed movie it would make. But, yes, I could see it working equally well as a computer rpg as well.

      Happy new year, my friend!

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  4. Sounds great, but i have 12 books on my shelf to read, i just cant seem to find the time

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    1. I'm not as bad as you, SK, with regards to the number of unread books I own. I do most of my reading when I go to bed at night, so I like to get in an hourly session each night. Why does that sentence sound so rude?

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  5. I'm convinced, yet another one to add to the reading list; thanks for the review Bryan.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Joe.

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  6. Sounds good Bryan, I'll add that to my to read list I really Like her previous books also. I'm mixing up my fiction a bit lately, some Post Apoc, some Horror some Sci Fi. I'm about halfway reading 'The Passage' by Justin Kronin a vampire/post apoc story. So far it has me hooked to be honest.

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    1. I haven't heard of that one, Simon. Seeing as I'm a sucker for vampire novels I'll keep an eye out for it.

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    2. I can't recall where I read about it. It was either a blog or one of these question the author type posts somewhere. I ordered it through the library its a beast of a book but very very good so far. I highly recommend its quite well written as well.

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    3. Don't worry about it, Simone. I've found it on Amazon for £5.59 for the paperbacj version. It gets a lot a five star reviews so I'll end up buying it.

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  7. Sounds great! I'll add this to my list.

    I have some reading to suggest to you and the rest of your readers:

    Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End. It's a Spanish Zed story, in a journal format. To be candid, I feel the format has been abused near to death. The author focuses on VERY different things from the average American writer, and I loved it.

    A New World: Chaos. This is written by an American. It's in first person, and follows this guy who is a bit of a bad ass. The zombies are a bit different in the book, and it's another I've thoroughly enjoyed so far. Apparently the author, much like JL Bourne, started the project as a "what would I do" sort of exercise.

    The Scourge. This is a Kindle Serial. It has a new chapter released every few weeks until it's finished. It's a zombie survival/quest story that takes place in the Middle Ages in England.

    I don't know if you've seen it: Mira Grants wrote both a novella and a short story in her Feed universe. Countdown (the novella) deals with the events leading up to, and at the beginning of the zombie outbreak of 2014. San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats deals with something the characters in the main trilogy mentioned a couple of times. The disaster at San Diego, and how it affects people at Comic Con.

    I do a lot of my reading on a Kindle app on my tablet. I don't know that all of these are available in printed form. Still, if you have a Kindle I found these to be fun reads.

    Happy New Year everyone!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Jon. I always take note of recommendations from my fellow bloggers, so I shall certainly check out these books. However, I do not own a Kindle or indeed any kind of electronic book reader. Call me old fashioned but I like books that are real.

      I have read Mira's "Countdown" novella but not her "The Last Stand" short story.

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  8. Thanks for this recommendation. I didn't know about this writer.
    On a non-zombie but post-apocalypse note, I just finished Peter Heller's The Dog Stars (world after a 99% fatal pandemic) and liked it very much.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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    1. Hi, Mike, and once again, thank you for the recommendation. I do like post apocalypse novels, so I'll be checking out "The Dog Stars".

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