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Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers' Favorite
An English Apocalypse by Paul J.C. Edge is an exceptional zombie apocalypse story. The word “zombie” is never used as a name for the infected in this book, but the easiest way for me to describe them is as fast-moving zombies. What makes this book exceptional is the structure of the story. It follows two brothers who don’t know of the other’s existence. Some spiritual force has warned one of them about the coming apocalypse. The other one doesn’t know what’s coming but he knows he’s been given certain abilities that make him a formidable warrior. The brother who knows what’s coming prepares a fortress to save himself and a small community. The other brother is surprised by it all but his unique abilities make him a survivor.
An English Apocalypse moves slowly at first, laying every brick of the two main characters’ backstories. We’re also privileged to watch the preparations of the brother who knows what’s coming. Anyone who isn’t interested in the fine details of the fortress as it’s being built might find the first half of the book to be a little slow. However, author Paul J.C. Edge knows his stuff about survival in a fallen world and he manages to keep it all interesting. Along the way, we get to know many of the main characters too. Once the catastrophe arrives, the story kicks into overdrive. There is no sitting quietly in a bunker until everything passes. The action and violence come fast and furious. From that point on I had a difficult time putting the book down. Overall, I think the author used the slow build-up in the first half to his advantage, making the second half twice as effective because by then the reader is invested in the characters and has been well-prepped on their survival plans. This is NOT a cheap zombie story all about blood and gore; rather it’s a well-crafted blockbuster novel about a zombie apocalypse that feels all too real.