A review of Frank Tayell’s “Surviving the Evacuation: Book One; London.”

Bill Wright is the journal keeping narrator of this, the first book in a continuing series (currently reaching Book Seven).

He is trapped in his London apartment with a broken leg.  Why trapped?  Outside a zombie apocalypse rages, having originated in New York, before inevitably reaching UK shores.  Bill worked for the government and had a hand in designing an evacuation plan, which does seem to have gone catastrophically off the rails.  Eventually escaping his apartment he begins a nightmare journey of survival, and he uncovers some frightening truths about his government and it’s agendas.

The book has a strong opening using a reliable convention of an injured and confined narrator coming to terms with a terrible new world (think Day of the Triffids, 28 days Later and The Walking Dead with their originally injured and confined protagonists), and strong scenes of the originating outbreak in New York.  But there’s a lot of thuddingly generic survival horror as Bill moves from one siege situation to another, dispatching zombies (yes, with a blow to the head) and navigating a ruined urban and rural landscape.  There’s a good set piece in central London where zombies breach street barricades en masse, but a lot of it Bill on his own foraging, fighting off zombie attacks and reminiscing.  There is very little interaction with other characters.  The book needs more narrative variation.

But Bill is a strongly likeable lead, believable and solid, and Tim Bruce’s good audio book narration suits him perfectly.  The ending is also strong and satisfyingly bleak, as Bill uncovers the source of the outbreak and his government’s own agenda in the evacuation.  There are the hints through the book as to where it is going, but nothing that makes the shocking denouement predictable.

At times I thought I would not read any more of the series due to the above described flaws, but onm teh final analysis this is a series I will be returning to.


One thought on “A review of Frank Tayell’s “Surviving the Evacuation: Book One; London.”

  1. Same here about not sure if I want to continue the series. Without those great pictures, which make the book, I probably would just call it average. But the whole package is worthy. Thank you for the review.


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