Malcolm King is a journalist living in trendy Hove on the south coast of England. His days are taken up with video meetings and research on the internet while he writes articles for magazines around the world.
When a solar flare of unprecedented magnitude hits the Earth, effectively hurling us back to the stone age in a matter of hours, Malc is thrust into a terrifying new world as he travels the length of the country to find his young daughter.
Society, a fragile construct at best, shatters as the survivors fight each other for food and water, neighbour killing neighbour as fires rage through the cities, destroying much of what's left.
Faced with difficult choices at every turn, Malc draws his strength from those around him; Emily, a tough, no-nonsense soldier with a soft spot for lost causes and Jerry, a disgraced astrophysicist who may be the only person left who understands what's happening with the sun.
With their help, he must struggle to answer the ultimate question.
What won't he do to get his daughter back?
I have to start by being completely honest. When I read the synopsis I made a very hasty judgement. I decided that seeing as I didn’t really read this sort of thing, I wouldn’t enjoy it. I mean, yes, I have managed to sit through a couple of what I like to call Disaster Movies; and yes they were okay. That’s just it though, they were okay. So the thought of reading the equivalent didn’t fill me with joy. However, after reading the first few chapters I realised that the book was not only bloody good, I realised there wasn’t a hope in hell of me actually putting the damn thing down?
Malcolm King (known as Malc) is a journalist who in the first few chapters receives a phone call from his friend Jerry. Jerry is an astrophysicist and he is convinced that something bad is going to happen involving a solar flare. Malc refuses to believe it at first and within a matter of hours, he realises that he should have listened. Before he knows it, Malc is living ion a world where everything he knows is gone. The one problem he has is that he is currently living in the South of England and his young daughter is living in Manchester. He decided then and there that no matter what it takes, he will reach her.
As soon as Malc starts his travels the book ratchets up a gear and the reader gets to see just what might happen in the event of a catastrophic event? I know it sounds melodramatic, but at some point you must have wondered what would happen if everything electronic just stopped working; I know I have! The great thing about this book is that although the subject matter may seem extreme, there is always an element of what-ifs in it. The other characters that come into this book also made it that little bit more exciting.
Malc meets Emily and her family, and soon realises that if anyone can help him Emily is it. She is a tough nut soldier and her attitude is what makes their journey even more exciting. At literally every turn there is another threat that has to be dealt with differently. If I’m honest there is a part of this book that kind of gave me the creeps, because I can imagine this country and the people living here becoming everything this book describes (the recent riots proved that!). I raced through the book in one day and by the time I got to the end I was desperate to know what happened next. I was so shocked that I loved it so much, not because of the author (his previous Crime novels are great), but the synopsis just didn’t sound like my cup of tea. Thankfully, I didn’t think about it and ended up reading an absolutely brilliant book. I can only hope that Paul gets his arse in gear and hurries up with the sequel! Even if you don’t think you like the sound of it, give it a go; I think you’ll enjoy it.
Review by Katherine Everett, Best Crime Books
About Paul Grzegorzek:
Despite the surname Paul hails from Sussex where he has lived all his life. He was born in Shoreham-by-Sea, near Brighton.
A spell in the police force had Paul working on the beat, on response, then on LST, specializing in riot duties and working as a riot medic. He then went on to join DIU (the divisional intelligence unit) and worked on undercover drug operations as well as dealing with vehicle crime for the city. During his police career Paul was twice given bravery awards in the form of divisional congratulations.
While in the police, Paul met Peter James and soon the two became firm friends, Paul helping Peter as an adviser on his Roy Grace series on novels.
Outside of work and writing, Paul has studied white crane kungfu for about a dozen years on and off.