2059. THE WORLD HAS STOPPED TURNING.
One half suffers an endless frozen night:
the other, nothing but sun.
Only in a slim twilit region can life survive.
In a isolationist Britain, Ellen Hopper receives a letter.
Sent by a dying man, it contains a powerful and dangerous secret.
ONE THAT THOSE IN POWER WILL KILL TO CONCEAL…
Thank you so much to Sarah Harwood for sending me a finished paperback copy of The Last Day, the debut novel by Andrew Hunter Murray. A dystopian novel set 40 years in the future, the world has changed dramatically in unimaginable ways. Essentially it has stopped turning leaving the majority of land uninhabitable, either too hot or too cold. Britain lies in that slim region between constant day and night, life is unsettled and hard and the ruling govenrnment has become increasingly autocratic.
Ellen is a scientist living on a rig out at sea, studying tides and currents hoping to learn about the state of the planet and what if any future it has. She receives written contact from Edward Thorne, her old university lecturer with close ties to the government who alludes to a secret and pleas for her to visit him as he lays on his death bed. This visit is facilitated by government officials and Ellen finds herself back in London intrigued from her visit with her old teacher and searching for a truth, hotly pursued by the overbearing government, who will do anything to prevent this secret being exposed.
What follows is a tense and sinister story, in a dictatorial, apocalyptic world, the fight for survival is real and it is impossibe to know who can be trusted. Full of secrets and lies, conspiracy and murder, it was impossible to predict the direction this was heading, but this was one exciting journey.
Not a genre I naturally gravitate to, however this book appealed and proved to be a gripping, fast paced read. I found the themes of power and control particularly interesting in our current unsettled time due primarily to the pandemic. Does a government represent the views and welfare of the populace and can they be trusted? With 2 distinct sides, if you weren’t on the right side then by default you were on the wrong, with significant survelillance tactics it was beyond easy to find yourself fallen foul of the powers that be.
Told entirely in the third person from the perspective of Ellen Hopper this served to maintain tension as Ellen desperately sought to uncover the secret the government was desperate to keep, whilst avoiding capture and surely death. This was not a comfortable read, and it vividly depicted life under a hostile and ruthless ruling party. With a cental them of global, environmental decline it inevitably draws questions for the reader about what our current lifestyle is doing to our planet and what our future will look like. Scary stuff!
Do you like dystopian fiction, have you read this one?
About the Author
Andrew Hunter Murray is a scriptwriter and researcher for BBC2’s QI. He co-hosts podcast No Such Thing As A Fish, which has had 250 million downloads, and has toured the UK, USA, Europe and Australia.
He also writes jokes and journalism for Private Eye magazine, and hosts the Eye’s podcast, Page 94.
The Last Day is his first novel.