The North/South di­vided

SFX - - Reviews - David West

re­leased OUT NOW! 411 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook Au­thor Frank Owen Pub­lisher Corvus Books

In an Amer­ica where the civil war ended with the coun­try split in twain, a sec­ond erup­tion of hos­til­i­ties in the 21st cen­tury cul­mi­nates in the North un­leash­ing a wave of bi­o­log­i­cal at­tacks. For broth­ers Dyce and Gar­rett, the plague of viruses is the least of their trou­bles, as they’re on the run from the Cal­la­han clan, the most pow­er­ful mili­tia in the de­cay­ing South. Shel­ter­ing from a storm, they meet Vida, who’s search­ing for medicine for her in­fected mother, and the three de­cide there might be safety in num­bers.

South might not con­tain any zom­bies, but it of­fers nu­mer­ous com­par­isons with The Walk­ing Dead. Along­side the post civil­i­sa­tion back­drop, red­neck sib­lings Dyce and Gar­rett have a frac­tious re­la­tion­ship like Daryl and Merle Dixon. There’s a set­tle­ment that ap­pears to of­fer safe haven but holds a dark se­cret and, just like in TWD, the prin­ci­ple dan­ger comes from other hu­mans, not the in­vis­i­ble pathogens.

The prose is plain but di­rect and the pas­sages told from the per­spec­tive of the in­fected deliri­ously evoke the heat of a rag­ing fever. Although some plot turns are pre­dictable, there’s a con­stant, creep­ing sense of men­ace, plus enough fresh ideas to give South its own iden­tity.

“Frank Owen” is re­ally a two-writer team: Diane Awer­buck and Alex La­timer. They hail from South Africa.

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