Monday, 6 September 2010

SCOTT ANDREWS - The Afterblight Chronicles

Why does this happen?
I found a pretty good book 'Children's Crusade' by Scott Andrews in the local Waterstone's and sat down on the floor - well, they don't supply chairs - opened the book and started reading. Great opening chapter that set the scene and made me think a bit. It dawned on me that there was something that should come before and, sure enough, I was reading the third book of a trilogy. Had I looked at the back of the book I might have caught on sooner.
I just saw the title and thought that the book looked interesting.
Typical, books one and two were not on the shelves but the strength of that one opening chapter had me trawling the net for the other two books - 'School's Out' and 'Operation Motherland' - so, now I have the complete set.
Basics - There has been a plague that has swept the world and left those with O neg blood left alive (a play on Dave Wallis's 'Only Lovers Left Alive' there). I only make that allusion because in 'Only Lovers Left Alive' it was a teacher who committed suicide by throwing himself out of the classroom window and in 'School's Out' the headmaster commits suicide with a fistful of pills.
But there the similarity ends.
'School's Out' contains violence but while Dave Wallis's book gave the reader hope at the end - Scott Andrews shows us the hint that things could get worse before they get better.
In 'School's Out' the hero is 15 year old Lee Keegan and introduces the reader to the matron of the school, Jane Crowther. These two characters have a tandem role to play in 'Operation Motherland'. Lee celebrates his sixteenth birthday by crashing a plane, fighting for his life and facing execution - again. This time in Iraq as he searches for his father. Meanwhile, Jane fights to save the children in her school.
And Jane is still doing just that by the time I reach 'Children's Crusade'.
These post-apocalytic tales boast a strong story-line, real people in that they are not heroic - they break under pressure and torture - nor is any character there to make up the numbers.
All I know is that the author, Scott Andrews, was born in the London area back in 1971 - though I have a suspicion that he might live in my neck of the woods. He has written a guide to 'Farscape' and worked on Doctor Who and Highlander audio stories.
Also, he likes 'The Magnificent Seven'.
The Afterblight Chronicles are published by Abaddon Books and include the Scott Andrews novels and books by Paul Kane 'Arrowhead' and 'Broken Arrow' - and being ahead this time - 'Arrowland' due out later this year. 'Broken Arrow' contains a short story by Scott Andrews.
But the Paul Kane books will be reviewed at a later date - but if you fancy reading about Robin Hood taking on tanks and helicopter gunships then there is no need to wait.


Nik Morton said...

Thanks, Ray, an interesting find. It often seems that a lot of YA fiction is more imaginative than so-called adult fiction.

Scott Andrews said...

Born in Wolverhampton, actually, but yeah I'm two train stops away from Orpington these days - well spotted :-) Ta for the write up, really glad you enjoyed the trilogy.