When a vicious and manipulative mass murderer engineers the release of a fatal toxin into the water supply of New York City, the stage is set for the most epic apocalyptic story since Night of the Living Dead.
Ben Leman is unaware he has released a deadly poison into the reservoir — Zilla, the evil mastermind of the plot, has told him the substance would only make people sick — a practical joke on a citywide scale.
However, Zilla has provided Ian with the antidote to the toxin, but there seem to truly be worse things than dying. He must somehow make it out of the Big Apple alive, dodging horrific zombies every step of the way, and he just prays that the rest of the country’s okay.
We follow other characters trying to escape the city as well. A female police officer named Hana and a fifteen-year-old boy named Tanis are also trying to escape. They don’t know it yet but they must also eventually battle several thousand hideous “walkers” who have somehow come back to life.
They reach a boathouse on the shores of the Hudson River, but are confronted by more living people. The first ones they faced were decidedly unfriendly. Things get tense until the threesome — Markus, Ben and Ian, along with a woman they rescued and her son — agree to join forces with Hana and Tanis to find a way across the river.
Two others arrive — Isabella and Josh — with an army of zombies at their heels. It’s time to go.
In a subplot that runs parallel to the main narrative, Markus — a preacher — had been searching for a mysterious stone sacred to Islam years earlier. It’s called the Stone of Allah, and it has been housed in an undisclosed location for hundreds of years. The Stone, and its relevance to the rest of the story is unclear — until a startling revelation brings everything into chilling focus.
The Fools’ Apocalypse is an ambitious novel, poised for a long and satisfying run as a series. The vivid scenes in which the survivors battle the Undead are truly epic and, I’m sure, will linger a long time in the nightmares of readers.
Its wider ambition, however, is to tie the book’s events to such relevant themes as international terrorism, corporate greed and the natural resource-sucking efforts of an ambivalent and uncaring world. These themes carry throughout the novel and should resonate with many readers. Could this be the future we’re all facing if global forces for destruction continue to go unchecked?
I give Fools’ Apocalypse five stars as the most promising dystopian read I’ve come across in awhile. By all means, read it — and its sequels — for more skin-crawling, eye-popping adventure.