Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last Light by Alex Scarrow
Review by Jacqui Slaney
Last Light
I came across this book completely by accident, was actually looking for another author but after reading the description I thought I would give this one a read instead.
This is the description:
It seems to be a very normal Monday morning. But in the space of only a few days, the world's oil supplies have been severed and at a horrifying pace things begin to unravel everywhere. And this is no natural disaster: someone is behind this. Jenny is stuck in Manchester, fighting desperately against the rising chaos to get back to London, where her children are marooned as events begin to spiral out of control; riots, raging fires, looting, rape and murder. In the space of a week, London is transformed into a lawless and anarchic vision of Hell. Jenny's estranged husband, oil engineer Andy Sutherland, is stranded in Iraq with a company of British soldiers, desperate to find a way home to his family, trapped as transport links and the very infrastructure of daily life begins to collapse around him. And against all this, a mysterious man is tracking Andy's family. He will silence anyone who might be able to reveal the identities of those behind this global disaster. It seems that the same people who now have a stranglehold on the future of civilisation have flexed their muscles before, at other significant tipping points in history, and they are prepared to do anything to keep their secret - and their power - safe.

Without giving too much away, the idea for the book is quite a simple one, disrupt the oil supplies, cause the different countries leaders to fall and then take power and make a lot of money. However, things are never that simple, and then it is like the domino effect, once that first block falls, it is impossible to stop the process.  To make the story more personal, the book focuses on one family. The husband is abroad, the mother is in Manchester and the daughter in London, their main goal when the trouble begins is to get to each other in London, and you follow their desperation as riots grow and spread and the transport links are broken. You see the horror of what is happening through their eyes to people around them and then to themselves.   Switching from one character to another sounds as if it should be confusing, but the author manages to switch the point of view without too trouble and still manages to keep the plot moving along at a fast pace. The characters are believable and you do care about them.
The story line takes off quite quickly and not far into the book you find yourself unsettled as this plot is all too plausible and you find yourself thinking that this could actually come true. We all know that the worlds oil supplies will not last forever and that new energy sources need to be found, but this story shows us how truly dependent we are and how close civilisation is to disaster if our normal way of life is taken away.
You only have to watch the news following any disaster or even a threat of fuel strikes to see how normally sane people react to a crisis in just one place, it is not a pretty picture and this book shows what can happen when it is on a global stage.
There are a few errors in details mentioned that as a reader you can pick holes in, wrong motorway etc, but to be honest, once you start reading you will get caught up with the story. It is extremely easy to read and it will stay with you long after you have finished the book.
9 out of 10