I wish to express my gratitude to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing UK for the compelling adventure 'Survival' by David Fletcher. This was a pulse-pounding, thrilling, character-driven book that vividly described its dazzling environment. It combined suspense, terror, humour, and information in one well-written and researched book. I was pleased how vividly the author accurately depicted the environmental beauty, the variety of mammals and birds and enriched the story with historical facts. An underlying theme is the destruction that humanity has wrought upon our environment and with the endangerment and extinction of other forms of life. By googling pictures of the sites, readers can add to their enjoyment.
The MS Sea Sprite is carrying approximately 90 wildlife enthusiasts on an Antarctic expedition. These passengers are predominately elderly but in great physical shape. I made a similar voyage about 25 years ago, but without the luxury and amenities, and the passengers ranged from the young and active to the old and feeble.
Alex and Debbie are an elderly couple anxious to view the scenic beauty and explore the Antarctic bird and mammal life. Alex chooses his dinner companions carefully, ensuring their meals are with compatible, like-minded companions. There is much thought-provoking banter between Alex and his two elderly male table guests, a 'know-it-all' and a 'walking encyclopedia.' Their conversations are wickedly appalling and amusing, most never politically correct.
Meanwhile, a British intelligence officer, Stuart, is monitoring news reports at his recent post at the military base in the Falkland Islands. He is very bored and had been hoping for an exciting transfer to the Far East or the Caribbean, but instead ended up in this desolate part of the world. The news is always the same; trouble in the Middle East, hostilities in Syria, sabre-rattling by Putin, and absurd tweets by Trump. Something new is added. There is a flu in China which authorities say is under control. Then following skirmishes along the borders, nothing further is heard from China. It seems to have been obliterated from the world. Wild rumours and speculation are everywhere.
As Stuart grows increasingly alarmed, he and a female worker steal a Top Secret document from the military base. They learn of the calamity facing the world's people, and whatever started in China is rapidly spreading, causing death in its path. The desert by stealing a yacht from the base and head south into turbulent waters. Their vessel is wrecked, and those on the Sea Sprite rescue them. Once onboard, they inform the captain of the horror they have learned. The captain decides to head towards the Antarctic Peninsula for safety and sanctuary. They encounter hostility and danger from a few others along the way. Can they hope to escape and survive the plague, or are they all doomed?
I have posted my review on Goodreads and Amazon. Highly recommended!
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/230300/review/434170
by NetGalley review
When you plan a luxury nature cruise to Antartica, survival is not the first thing on your mind. This is a dream trip for Alex and Debbie who have spent most of their retirement traveling the world on similar cruises. But this one will be very different. The first few days are uneventful. Alex and Debbie become friends with other passengers, take a few planned trips to the Falkland Islands and listen to lectures on history, plants and sea life. Then sporadic news bulletins begin to filter in. There is a virus, probably from China, that is causing near instant death. No one is immune. They listen in horror as it spreads quickly from country to country. What can they do to survive? And will they?
Survival, a character driven thriller, is well plotted and simply terrifying because it is so real. I especially enjoyed the lectures and information shared by different characters. Did you know that starlings were introduced to Central Park by Shakespeare enthusiasts? Which two countries have an albatross on their flags? Or the differences between the Gentoo and Macaroni penguins? These facts are interspersed thoroughout Survival so your pulse can return to normal. The only criticism I have is that Alex and friends are overly pompous know-it-alls. It’s hard to identify with a lead character with his personality. 5 stars.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/230300/review/502673
by NetGalley review
I'll admit this book took me a while to read. At times I got so lost in the beauty that the author described with absolute honesty. The descriptions were such that if you close your eyes you could actually be there. He also includes a lot of historical facts which I'll admit are kind of amazing.
The down side unfortunately is the characters. Alex and Debbie are retired and travelling the world. They come across as arrogant no it alls. Always having opinions about other people, often wrongly. They are the kind of people who I would go out of my way to avoid. There superiority complex astounded me just in the first few pages on how they dismissed people with nothing more than a look. They also came across as self absorbed.
Even in survival mode they were superior or so they thought. I'll admit they put a downer on the book. I know this sounds cold but I wouldn't have been upset if they caught the virus.
But as I mentioned earlier the scenery, the animals and everything in nature was absolutly fabulous. That is why I gave the book four stars. If it were just on the characters they would get minus one.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.com/book/230300/review/402576
by NetGalley review
The author combines high tension with precise details of the fragile complexities of nature and ecology and an evocative tour of the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic, all described in glorious technicolor prose.
The elderly passengers on the Sea Sprite have very outspoken views and offer a clear indictment of mankind.
The writing is powerful and mesmerizing and the threat to the human race as unsettling as John Wyndham's The Day Of The Triffids, tinged perhaps a little by The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells.
Despite all the horrors this is a painfully beautiful story and the ending took my breath away.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/230300/review/651022
by NetGalley review
This was an incredibly intense book—at times, hard to read especially given world events at the moment. I thought it was an interesting book although quite depressing and heartbreaking at times.
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/230300/review/526762
by NetGalley review
Securing a degree in chemistry, well before the days of modular exams, was a very good start for David, and his using this degree to embark on a lifetime career in accountancy seemed, at the time, like the best next step to take. And in a way it was. Becoming a partner in one of the world's 'Big Four' firms of accountants proved to be surprisingly interesting and constantly challenging.
However, over the years, a belief became fixed in David's mind that he hadn't been put on this Earth just to provide opinions on financial statements but also to provide opinions on human nature. Not pompously or even vehemently - but in the only way he knew how: through humour.
So he started to write - and in this writing to focus particularly on what the nature of human nature was doing to the nature of the natural world - first through some 'sci-fi humour' and latterly through some 'travelogue humour'.
He doesn't claim to be some sort of jokey Cassandra - as he is only too aware that both his thinking and his writing is riddled with serious self-doubt. So he is quite relaxed about whether his opinions get through to his readers - or not - just as long as in the process of reading his books they all have a jolly good laugh. Because, with what he and the rest of his species are visiting on this planet, one thing he doesn't have any doubt about whatsoever is that sooner rather than later, we will all need to develop our ability to have a jolly good laugh indeed - even if it is of the somewhat hollow variety...