I have a confession to make. Although I’ve seen nearly all the zombie movies available (good and bad), I have never read a zombie book. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I read the blurb for this book, I knew I had to give it a try.
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Amazon via NetGalley
Release date: June 2012
A walled city surrounded by lush land, protected by high mountain summits, and fortified by a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, The Bastion remained humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. On one fateful day, the valley gate failed and the Inferi Scourge overran and destroyed the human settlements outside the walls, trapping the remaining survivors inside the city. Now, decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city of dwindling resources…and dwindling hope.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her entire life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.
Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate, reclaiming the lost lands and energizing the populace with renewed hope for the future. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.
From page one, I was swept up in the story and couldn’t put this book down. The writing was superb, the unique world-building and tension slowly built with each page. The book had just the right amount of action and introspect, not to mention the unexpected twists and turns, to keep me at the edge of my seat. Maria was a tough-as-nails soldier, doing her best to live in a world behind walls. Those walls were the last line of defense against the Inferi Scourge. All it took was one bite for the infection to spread and turn the victims into the walking dead. After years of scrambling for survival, things came to a head as food and resources dwindled. To survive, they must sacrifice everything, and step outside the walls to take back the world.
In a last ditch effort to save the city, a contingent of their best soldiers volunteer for a secret mission. Unable to take being cooped up anymore, Maria jumped at the opportunity. Dwayne had fallen in love with Maria the day she saved his live. Each day that bond grew stronger. When he learned of her mission, Dwayne kept his misgivings to himself. How could he ask Maria to turn down the one shot they had at survival?
Lies and betrayal put the mission in jeopardy before it even started. As truths were revealed, tensions escalated and battle lines were drawn. When the mission went bad, Dwayne does all he can to ensure the survival of Maria and her team, even if it meant treason. I adore the obvious love between these two characters. The Inferi Scourge were frightening and beautifully described. The battle scenes were horrific and enthralling to read. What made this book so engaging was that everything was so darn believable. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the book and learned the truth behind the virus that I was disappointed. There was no set-up, making me disappointed in what could’ve been a five star recommended read. Despite that, I’ll definitely pick up more from this author.