Friday, August 12, 2016

Review: Hurst (The Hurst Chronicles Book 1) by Robin Crumby

Hurst (The Hurst Chronicles Book 1) 
by Robin Crumby

29905110The survivors of the Millennial Virus now face a much greater danger: each other.

Civilization has collapsed following the outbreak of a pandemic virus that devastated the world’s population. Those that survive scrape a living in remote outposts. Hiding behind high walls, far away from the smoking ruins of the cities, waiting, hoping.

At the end of the world, surrounded by the tidal waters of the Solent, Hurst Castle stands alone. Its seventy-four occupants united in a struggle for survival against all the odds. The Millennial Virus is the least of their concerns.

When the arrival of outsiders threatens to tip the balance of power, Hurst is faced with a desperate choice: set aside their differences and join an alliance that promises new hope or unite against the newcomers and their plans for reconstruction. Who can be trusted? Only time will tell.

The battle for Hurst has begun.

My Take:
After the Millennial Virus decimated the world's population, the surviving few band together in hopes of rebuilding society. But without law and order, with the underpinnings of society snuffed out in a matter of days, there's nothing stopping the ruthless from destroying what's left of mankind.

Such is the depressing backdrop in which we find ourselves, as Jack tries to protect and grow the families in his care, isolated and safe sequestered in Hurst Castle, on the southern shore of England, within sight of the Isle of Wight.

Jack, Terra, Zed, Tommy, Joe, and a handful of survivors spend their weeks scavenging through the devastated cities for supplies, while gangs and the infected roam at will. To be seen is to die. When Zed, Riley, Joe, and Will head out on a scavenging hunt, Will is captured by well-armed paramilitary thugs, and taken to their Nazi-like base inside a local hospital. Zed isn't going to give up on Will, and attempts to rescue him, but ends up with a couple of victimized girls and the wrath of the group's psychotic leader.

PG-13 - While action and suspense were the main focuses of the novel, there was significant graphic violence to tip the scales. The ravages of the disease were described in some detail, and the horrific aftermath of a worldwide plague isn't hidden from view, with bodies everywhere, along with the smell. People are enslaved and experimented on. One person is captured, tied up, and practically left to die in his own filth.

PG - I don't remember more than mild expletives.

Adult Content:
PG-13 - Women are degraded and taken advantage of. Some men are held captive and bred to continue the species. Nothing is described, and we don't visit those scenes, but they are mentioned.

Christian content:
I'm not positive where to put this. The book is a peek into the dark heart of mankind, when placed without limits, on a level with Lord of the Flies. It arguably could be a useful tool for that. In one part scripture is quoted and applied clearly to a situation, but the religious person quoting it is depicted as a psychopath, who may or may not have changed for the better. Several people are atheists. There's a few people of faith in the book depicted in a positive light. God is blamed for the virus.

Final analysis:
Hurst is, as I said, a diatribe on the dark heart of man, and the only glimmer of hope in the mix appears to be the will to survive, and an alliance with an outside party. I would hesitate giving it to a younger teen, but it's a well-written adventure story. It's an edge-of-your-seat page turner, but it's pretty dark nonetheless. The characters were real and raw, the antagonists were dark and the stakes were pegged at survival of the species. The pace was fast and the setting was immersive. Five Stars.

About the Author:

Robin CrumbyRobin Crumby is an author and writer living in London with his wife and two children. Since reading John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids as a child, he became fascinated by end of the world dystopian literature.

More recently, re-reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven inspired him to start writing. Why? Because post-apocalyptic fiction fires the imagination like nothing else. Pondering what comes next, who would survive, what would life look like?

Much of the best fiction in this popular genre focuses on brain-eating zombies or events unfolding in the USA so Robin determined to write a story set in the UK. His Eureka moment came wandering the shingle beach at Milford-on-sea, inspired by the beauty and rich history of the Solent. Where better to survive the end of the world than a medieval castle surrounded by water? Robin spent much of his childhood messing about in boats, exploring the many waterways, ports and military forts of the Isle of Wight, where The Hurst Chronicles are set.

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