Review: Autumn - Aftermath / Author: David Moody / Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin / Release Date: March 13th
David Moody wrote the original Autumn book in 2001, quickly became something of an internet phenomenon and is considered by many – us included – to be a main staple of modern British horror.
The story follows a group of survivors trying to outlive the zombie apocalypse locked inside a castle. A perfect place it would seem to escape the undead hordes. But the real threat comes not from the shambling corpses but rather from the survivors themselves. Despite the threat of extinction we still fail to get things right and bicker amongst ourselves all the way to the bitter end.
Recently zombies have hit the mainstream with the advent of The Walking Dead and the upcoming World War Z franchise. The undead, it would seem, are here to stay. Still, there are plenty of zombie novels currently doing the rounds, stumbling over themselves to get our attention. And to produce anything different can be a difficult task indeed. David Moody however manages this with remarkable skill. What makes his book different, what allows it to climb head and shoulders above the rest, is the brutal honesty that infects each and every word. This is what makes David Moody’s work so compelling. There is a sense of reality grounding the characters in their nightmare setting. A feeling of what real people might actually do when presented with the end of the world.
Autumn: Aftermath is the fifth and last in the series and it would have been easy for David Moody to sit back on his laurels, create cliché characters and gruesome death scenes - all standard affair for the genre, but instead we are given a thought-provoking character study, a sideways glance at death and what ultimately lies in wait at the end of our tragically short lives. And isn’t that what zombies are all about? Yes, we can pass social commentary upon mass consumerism or the nation’s need to record every facet of the mundane, but the truth the zombie represents is ultimately our own mortality and all that might entail.
Aftermath shows the reader, in no uncertain terms, what happens to our bodies after we die: the rot and infestations that occur, the slow process of putrefaction - as compelling as it is perverse. Then as we begin to get our heads around this gruesome fact, Aftermath reveals what happens after the apocalypse: a subject not extensively covered by other tales of the undead. What do the survivors do when they emerge from their shelters? How would they cope in this empty world? The last few chapters are the greatest yet, and the questions posed stay with you long after the book has been put down.
If you haven’t read the Autumn series, and want to see characters in zombie books do something believable, then you could do worse than follow this series. Autumn: aftermath is available for pre-order HERE.
British horror at its absolute best.