When a totally new virus appears in Africa and develops into an epidemic, it is not long before it reaches across the world. However this is no ‘normal’ virus, this is one that has the ability to change and develop to the point that it seems to be able to think. The victims of this virus range from humans to any animals that it comes into contact with and it seems to be trying to replicate their genetic make-up. Leon, his sister Grace and their mother find themselves running for their lives, trying to avoid any contact with these mutations. They seem to be immune, but eventually their mother is caught and killed by creations they call ‘Snarks’ (small crablike animals). The most horrific element of the story is that the ‘virus’ is learning and gradually develops the ability to replicate creatures according to their DNA pattern; so who is real and who can you trust in this new world. That is something that Leon will have to find out as he battles to care for his sister.
This is the start of a truly horrifying new series by Alex Scarrow, the author of the Time Riders series. It is a very different theme for him and is definitely aimed at an older audience; in fact the cover does quote ‘For Older Readers’. This is going to be great for fans of people such as Charlie Higson, Darren Shan and other exponents of the horror genre. I will admit to not being a fan (I used to hide from the Daleks as a child) of this type of story but there is a huge audience who love them. Alex Scarrow has produced a very well planned and plotted tale which gradually builds up the gore factor. The characters take the reader on a real roller coaster ride as you suddenly discover that looks can be deceptive and fighting against the enemy is more difficult than you could ever imagine. A brilliant addition to the genre.