Wednesday, 2 January 2013
The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater
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.