Some guy in a hospital waiting room empties a vial of powder in front of the air vent, and from then on, people start dying in vast numbers, not from a virus as such, but from exacerbated effects of any injury or illness they already have. This continues with such speed that it isn’t long before the planet’s entire population is wiped out, with the except of a handful of apparently immune people.
Our protagonist, aptly named Eve, is one of the handful of survivors in her town in a southern state. She, and her sister’s baby, who was born on the day her sister died, seem to be the only ones who survived, until a knock at her door turns out to be a cleaning crew, small teams that are going around cleaning out the dead bodies in the houses and neighborhoods, burning trash, and turning off the utilities in the empty houses. They are fortunate to live near a hydroelectric plant which seems to continue to operate.
The book is about how gradually a few other people find her, and create a small enclave of survivors, and how they managed and their community grew.
I don’t usually read post-apocalyptic books because I like my world to be PollyAnna bright and cheery and post apocalyptic stories are usually dire, dismal and dismaying, but the idea of being entirely alone in the world hooked me, and I was interested to see what the author would do with this idea.
Of course, if Eve and her baby nephew survived, there have to be others as well, so there is scope for an interesting story line. What I liked about this book was that it was about survival and adjusting to being first alone, and then with only a small number of people. It wasn’t all about how nasty bands roamed the country creating murder, havoc and destruction and how the country became terribly dangerous to live in, as so many other post apocalyptic books seem to be about.
My one small negative observation was that as it got near the end of the book, events seemed to be rushed through, without the detail of the earlier portion of the book, giving the reader the feeling that the author was getting tired of writing and wanted to just get it over with, so that the narrator tells us that ‘here’s the Cliff Notes on the last seventy years.’…… yada yada yada.
OK, one more tiny complaint — the whole idea of why anyone or group would poison the world is totally ignored. Lots of bitching by the characters about the president and vice president and how this is all their fault, but I was having trouble following that thread of the story.
All in all, I enjoyed it quite a bit. From the promotional blurb, I thought it was going to be about some kind of Boadicea type of chick, leading the remnants of society into battle, but it was really just about a young woman doing her best to survive and take care of her young nephew in the face of horrific events.