Lee is part of a secret government project to be deployed should the worst happen. Whatever that worst is. Whenever a crisis hits the US, he and his fellows go to ground in their bunkers to weather the storm and emerge in the aftermath
There have been many drills, many false alarms and Lee didn’t think much of the latest alert – a plague spreading that turned people violent and near mindless. No doubt it would be resolved like many before
And then the time stretched – and stretched. This is not a drill. Society has fallen, the US is devastated and it’s Lee’s job to pick up the pieces.
I love this concept, it’s a great new spin on an old concept. We’ve seem dystopian, post-apocalyptic worlds. We’ve seen any number of survivors struggling to live and learn in the new world they’re presented in. We’ve seen them make the hard choices, having to set their moral lines, we’ve seen them be totally unprepared.
But this? Someone who has been prepared for exactly this scenario. Someone who has the supplies and skills for a zombie apocalypse and is ready to take it on. It sounds like it would make for a simpler story – after all, the struggle to survive becomes so much easier. Which is true – but it’s a whole different dynamic – because Lee has a mission. In other books the survivors battle hard choices on moral lines, whether to save or trust other people and focus on living. Lee can’t do that – he can’t decide not to save people, he can’t just focus on his own survival. His job is to put the country back together. He has been prepared and supplied to restore order and civilisation – focusing on daily survival alone cannot be his priority. Not reaching out to people not taking the risk in trusting people, not saving people are all things he cannot do – not unless he’s willing to abandon his mission entirely. It’s a fascinating new dynamic and makes for a very fresh story against a very familiar background.
We still have a lot of the standard themes of a zombie apocalypse – watching friends and loved ones becoming monsters, having to make the decision to put them down, facing the slow degradation of someone you know slowly deteriorating, roving bands of marauders and gangs exploiting the break down of order to take whatever they want – and they’re all really well done. But Lee’s mission colours everything and adds a new angle to all of these well portrayed and familiar themes.