Here is a blood-draining chiller of a novel about the end of the world. Not just as in the advent of an apocalypse, this time brought about by a mysterious series of viral contagions, but as in the setting: a high-tech research base in the ruthless grip of an Antarctic winter. We get to meet Dr Caroline Burchell, a South African surgeon and virologist, who must call on all of her boer-maak-’n-plan resourcefulness when the outbreaks leave her as the sole survivor. Or maybe not quite as sole as she thinks.
The novel draws its rising sense of dread from the realisation that Burchell has more than the weather and her assumed isolation to contend with, and Snyckers drives the pace with a whipcracking rhythm that doesn’t let up. This makes Spire an easy and compulsive read, and a great part of its appeal lies in the author’s richlydetailed clinical and scientific research. So much so, that if you ever find yourself stuck in a similar situation at the very end of the world, this may be the only survival manual you need. Author:
Fiona Snyckers Publisher: Clockwork Books
Reviewer: Gus Silber ISBN: 978 0 62075 342 5 Price: R240 Giveaway Code: SPIRE