Book Review: All Roads End Here by David Moody

“Moody has once again delivered a great post-apocalyptic story, maintaining his position at the summit of British horror.”

 

With events on the world’s stage increasingly making the post-apocalyptic section of your favourite bookshop look more and more like the current affairs shelves, David Moody’s return last year to the world of his Hater trilogy couldn’t have come at a better time. One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning, the first book in the second Hater trilogy, swapped the gritty and bloody urban combat zones of the first trilogy for the claustrophobic and remote North Sea island of Skek, and gave us what every lover of a particular universe wants, more of the same but different. As this is the second book of a new series, expect a few minor spoilers here.

Picking up three months after the bloody conclusion of the first book, All Roads End Here thrust us straight back into the violent chaos of the mainland as Matthew Dunne, finally makes his way home from Skek to find that things are very different to the day he reluctantly left for his work’s team building exercise.

The city has effectively been turned into a fortress to keep out the Haters, and while initially greeted with scepticism by the heavy handed militia who are now in charge as to how he had managed to survive for so long, Dunne is allowed to reunite with his wife and their enforced lodgers, joining the daily queues for pitiful rations. Having developed something of a sixth sense for being able to predict and anticipate Hater behaviour in order to survive his perilous journey home, however, Dunne enlists with a squad who regularly journey beyond the city’s fortifications in return for enhanced rations, but soon discovers that in common with the villains of Moody’s other series of books—the excellent Autumn sextet—things are somewhat rotten and dangerous.

To reveal much more would be to deny the reader the pleasure of discovering Moody’s twisty, layered tale for themselves, as he expertly weaves this new tale into the fabric of the first trilogy by setting the book in the same location and at the same time as Dog Blood, the middle entry in the first trilogy, while giving us fresh perspectives and experiences against the familiar powder keg atmosphere of the city (and a few familiar faces).

As usual, Moody’s characters are robustly three dimensional as they play out the very human dramas that are at the heart of all great post-apocalyptic fiction. One of Moody’s great strengths is in capturing the essence of what in lesser skilled hands can become clichéd or stereotypical characters but recognising that these clichés and stereotypes are rooted in reality and reflect the way that the human animal all too often reacts when faced with adversity, despair and unrelenting terror.

One of the interesting things about setting a new book in an existing universe, and particularly in the same location and time frame as a previous entry in a series, is that the constant reader knows where certain elements of the story are going, but rather than this detracting from the sense of surprise and awe that accompany certain events the first time, readers who have followed the Hater series will be aware from early on will find that this only ratchets up the tension and dread in All Roads End Here and will have them turning the pages at a rapid rate of knots as the book draws to its conclusion. Moody has once again delivered a great post-apocalyptic story, maintaining his position at the summit of British horror, and thankfully we won’t have to wait too long for the concluding chapter in the Hater series, Chokehold, is slated for release before the end of the year.

RICHARD COSGROVE

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Hardback: 352 (pps)
Release Date: 12 February 2019

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