Saturday, 22 September 2012

Outpost Book Review Author Adam Baker

The Grumbling Gargoyle takes a look this week at Adam Baker's 'Outpost', a struggle for survival in one of the most desolate places on earth...the Arctic Ocean!

Moored in the Arctic Ocean, Kaskar Rampart is a derelict refinery platform. This desolate rig is home to a skeleton crew of fifteen who, after reaching the end of their lengthy time on board, are each desperate to escape the banality and boredom that is steadily creeping upon them. Thankfully, the relief ship which will take them back home to civilisation is due any day and so it is with unreserved eager anticipation they await its arrival.

However, something unimaginable has happened and the world as they know it exists no more. A global pandemic has devastated city after city, replacing TV stations and other means of communication with an eery silence...thus leaving the crew of the Rampart completely marooned. The crew are now acutely aware of the battle they face in order to survive the brutality of an Arctic winter as starvation and hypothermia threaten to overwhelm them...what they are not aware of is that the contagion which has ravaged their forging its ravenous way towards them!

Now don’t think I can’t hear you sighing after reading the word ‘Contagion’!. You’re probably thinking that this book is going to be yet another mucous filled tribute to the effects of Extreme Sneezing with a bit of Bubo Bursting and Projectile Vomiting thrown in for good measure, all conspiracy and contamination and no true storytelling substance...well you’d be wrong! ( Ha! )

The ‘Contagion’ referred to here Zombifies its victims leaving them with a prime directive to infect others, thereby assuring the continuity and progression of their vile metamorphic reanimation. STOP!...You’re inwardly moaning again thinking that this is just another Post-Apocalyptic flesh nibbling, Zombie shuffle, in an already, it could be argued, overly saturated market. Wrong again! ( double Ha! )

Yes there are Zombies but these are very different from any you have previously encountered and I’m not telling you why. All you need to know is that whilst Baker has somewhat reinvented the Zombie here, the terror of its existence not only remains but is amplified thanks to Baker's outstanding ability to encapsulate horror and abject fear through his artistry as a skillful writer. Through strong character development you, the reader, become to know this mixed bag of people for the individuals they are and grow to love or hate them accordingly.

One of the main characters, for example, is Jane a reverend who, whilst providing comfort and counseling as part of her job description on the platform, is herself riddled with self loathing and doubt. This is delightfully refreshing as these chinks in her ecclesiastical armour allow us to see the human side of her weaknesses, failings and vulnerabilities whether we approve or not and I personally found the initial introduction to her character to be of particular interest...but, once again, I’m not telling you why.

Be assured you are in for both a chilling and a chilly ride through these pages. Every step of the way you will witness unprecedented hardships and sufferings as you experience the monstrous, gruelling challenges that face this group of isolated people each struggling to combat the escalating horror which surrounds them. The Arctic winter grows ever closer, threatening to completely shut them off from any hope of freedom from the relentless madness which holds them captive and so it is imperative that their quest for survival succeeds...even though no one is certain what future awaits them beyond this vast Arctic prison.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Fast paced and highly entertaining keeping me awake well into the night...mostly due to nightmares!...Now there lies the measure of a good book!...

Rating 4 out of 5 stars  
Purely because I felt the ending, whilst not letting the book down in any way, could have been slightly more fulfilling.

By The Grumbling Gargoyle

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