SPIRE

South African Country Life - - Competition -

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

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