Imagine being alone in the world, one of only a handful to survive a global pandemic. Not only do you struggle to find food, water, and shelter but you also deal with the sadness and losing everyone you know and everything you have.
Fourteen-year-old Greg Dixon is living that nightmare. Attending boarding school outside of Boston, he is separated from his family when a pandemic strikes. His classmates and teachers are dead, rotting in a dormitory-turned-morgue steps from his room. The nights are getting colder, and his food has run out. The last message from his father is to get away from the city and to meet at his grandparents' town in remote New Hampshire. Knowing the impending New England winter could be the final nail in his coffin, Greg packs what little food he can find and sets off on his 100-mile walk north with the unwavering belief that his family is alive and will join him.
As the fast-moving and deadly disease strips away family and friends, Greg's father, John, is trapped in South Carolina. Roadblocks, a panic-stricken population, and winter make it impossible for him to get to his son. John and his three brothers appear to be immune, but they are scattered across a locked-down United States, forced to wait for the end of humanity before travelling to the mountains of New Hampshire.
Spring arrives, and the Dixons make their way north to find young Greg. They meet others along the way, slowly forming the last tribe of humanity from the few people still alive in the Northeast.
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A unique & important addition to the genre!
Fans of Stephen King's The Stand and Justin Cronin's The Passage will definitely not want to miss this one. Those are my two favorite novels in this genre, and Brad Manuel's effort here follows very impressively in their footsteps.
As others have mentioned, an element that sets The Last Tribe apart from the aforementioned tomes is that there are no evil hordes (whether undead or living).
The great conflict for our group of protagonists is the brutal reality of survival - pure and simple. However, some of the previous reviews seemed to suggest that there weren't any bad people in the story, but that certainly wasn't the case. It's just that they weren't over the top embodiments of evil as is so often the case - they were much more realistic characters. Some were truly bad. Others were mostly just responding to their personal insecurities and fears. Very real and refreshing!
The other key element that sets The Last Tribe apart is that it's a predominantly positive view of how regular people would respond in such an event. And it's this aspect that I think makes it an incredibly intriguing and important addition to the genre. This is what really makes it an absolutely essential read/listen for any fan of the genre!
And it certainly should be a listen, as the great Scott Brick is very much in his element here. Just superb!
A perfect year in the post apocalypse.
- Andrew Pollack