With post-apocalyptic fiction such a burgeoning subject in the creative arts, and publishing made so easy (and the stunning example of success that Hugh Howey’s Wool set), the independent book industry is now awash with authors trying their hand at apocalyptic tales. It is always refreshing, then, to find an author who’s done it properly, and professionally – and The Cleansing is a great example of how an independent book can be. With its international tale of a seemingly man-made deadly infection, it’s polished, intriguing and – above all – entertaining.
What’s the Cleansing all about
On the eve of the Millennium, a globally dispersed force is put into action distributing a strange substance. It spreads rapidly with horrifying results, and before humanity knows what’s hit it, it seems extinction could be on the cards. The impact of the destructive virus reminds of the likes of The Stand or the film Virus, but with an original twist on the why these people have orchestrated such a disaster. And as the first in Sam Kate’s Earth Haven series, it’s a twist which opens the way for what promises to be a very different post-apocalypse in the sequels. This novel, though, is all about building up to that: it is a measured and rounded account of the apocalypse, seen through the eyes of both the plotters and a handful of their victims, from the everyday people faced with survival to the sometimes calculating, sometimes psychotic, enemy.
Why it’s worth a read
Sam Kates manages to tread an effective line between grim details that make a global disaster believable and the tenets of light, eminently readable fiction. This is a polished story that is just plain easy to read, providing action, mystery and human emotion at an enjoyable pace. It also draws the reader in to a growing tale; beyond being satisfied with this foray into the apocalypse, you’ll be left eager to see how Kates deals with the post-apocalypse to come.