Magnus McFall was a comic on the brink of his big break when the world came to an end. Now, he is a man on the run and there is nothing to laugh about.
Thrown into unwilling partnership with an escaped convict, Magnus flees the desolation of London to make the long journey north, clinging to his hope that the sickness has not reached his family on their remote Scottish island.
He finds himself in a landscape fraught with danger, fighting for his place in a world ruled by men, like his fellow traveller Jeb – practical men who do not let pain or emotions interfere with getting the job done.
This is a world with its own justice, and new rules.
Where people, guns and food are currency.
Where survival is everything.
Thought provoking and engaging, Death is a Welcome Guest is an intelligently crafted book that plays with the mind conjuring endless scenarios all the while playing mind games with the reader. This is one of those books that you can’t help but imagine yourself caught in a similar predicament and throughout the experience you do find yourself – as a reader – wondering how you’d cope if you were one of the survivors. Would you embrace the predicament or fall pray to survivor’s guilt. It’s a tough call.
This is the first book I’ve read by Louise Welsh and just happens to be the second in the Plague Times Trilogy series but it works well as a standalone. I’m not aware of any character connectivity between the first two books and fortunately never felt the need to have read the first one to take enjoyment out of this second instalment.
Characterisation is very well done and I did feel for Magnus McFall, a comic caught up in semi stardom and in the wrong place at the wrong time. McFall is sent to Pentonville prison to await his court date but during his time on remand the “Sweats” break and people fall by the wayside. Young, old, rich, poor, royal or pauper no one is immune and it’s every man, woman, child and dog for themselves.
Nothing is left to chance here, roaming empty streets at night under a military run curfew, deserted shops and hotels and the London underground crammed with dead bodies. Louise Welsh paints an horrific and atmospheric picture of a city under siege from an unseen force. No one can stop it, the government and military are in disarray and it’s left to the survivors to run a lawless society.
What gripped me more than anything were the little touches found throughout the book. With owners falling prey to the sweats who’s left to feed their pets? The pets become wild and will attack for food. It’s all very Stephen King! With no internet, facebook or twitter people resort to the old fashioned way of communicating, who’d have thought things could get that bad – imagine a life without email, ridiculous!
A wonderful and very quick read, Death is a Welcome Guest is certainly welcome on my bookshelf. It will leave you with questions long after you turn the final pages and put the book down for the final time.
- Hardcover:384 pages
- Publisher:John Murray (4 Jun. 2015)