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HALF THE WORLD IS DARK. ONLY SHE CAN SAVE THE LIGHT.
A high-concept, utterly original debut thriller which envisages a world on the edge of catastrophe, perfect for readers who loved Robert Harris’ Fatherland, Station 11, and The Wall by John Lanchester.
It is 2059: forty years previously a solar catastrophe began to slow our planet’s rotation. Now it has stopped so that one side of the world permanently faces the sun while the other is stuck in an eternal frozen night.
Britain is one of the few fortunate countries. Located in one of the few remaining temperate zones, it should have the means to support itself. In reality though it is struggling, and today it is a land stalked by hunger and violence.
It is also home to the American Zone, the last surviving enclave of the United States.
Ellen Hopper is a British scientist living on a frostbitten rig in the cold Atlantic. She wants nothing more to do with her country after its slide into authoritarianism and decay.
Yet when two government officials arrive demanding she return to London to see her dying tutor, she accepts – and begins to unravel a secret that threatens not only the nation’s fragile balance, but the future of the whole human race.
The absolutely impossible happens. The earth stops rotating and causes day and night to be the same day in and day out all over the world. The cold spots are eternally cold and the warm spots always warm, possibly too warm as they face the sun in the same position without change. The cause of this calamity is a huge celestial body crossing space relatively near to our solar system. As a consequence of this event, the earth begins a period of slowing down in its ever-changing position of moving around the sun. Differences in day and night and seasonal change begin to slow down, and eventually cease when our planet finally finishes slowing down and eventually stops.
The author does an excellent job of portraying the effect cessation of motion of the earth has on our planet. How many lose their lives with the ability to survive lost. And how people begin to adjust to a life that is totally different than the one they were used to. England and a portion of the United States emerged as the more powerful countries on the planet. In addition, one man begins taking charge of adaptation in Great Britain and not surprisingly becomes a dictator with plans to take over the United States and expand his hold on England
Ellen Hopper is a woman that has found a life living on an ocean rig with no thought of changing until one day two officials from the British government visit her demanding that she visit her mentor from her days at university. When she does so she is thrown into the middle of a scheme that bids fair to throw the country off from its fragile balance and possibly even negatively affect the remainder of the planet’s population.
Murray has taken on the challenge of developing a novel with a huge amount of interwoven factors and does a very creditable job of tying everything together in a logical way. The novel is certainly one that cannot be put down until finished with every section bringing in different factors to be faced by the characters. The book is indicated as the author’s first and is no doubt a great start for an up and coming writer.
2/2020 Paul Lane
THE LAST DAY by Andrew Hunter Murray. Hutchinson (February 6, 2020). ISBN: 978-1786331915. 384p.