When Barnes and Noble posted a list of their top 20 zombie novels of the last decade, we were pleased to see we’d read some of them, but felt it was our obligation to read the rest. We started with number one, The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater (2012).
Frater creates a futuristic world in which nations banded together in the face of a zombie apocalypse and created The Bastion, a self-contained, self-sufficient city supposedly impervious from zombie attack. Unfortunately something goes wrong and the outer section of The Bastion is breached. The outer section is the agricultural area, home to the livestock and site of the gardens. Without it, the occupants of The Bastion face death by starvation.
The zombies, victims of the Inferi Scourge Plague Virus, are fearsome, but even scarier creatures hide among them outside the city gates. As a group of soldiers ventures into the breached outer section, hopefully to reclaim it from the Inferi Scourge and restart food production, they find all is not as it seems. Special Sargent Maria Martinez, a volunteer for the dangerous mission, is willing to pay any price to leave the slowly dying Bastion, but finds the military and government is not above treachery, intrigue, and backstabbing. Even so, she works to fulfill her mission and return to the man she loves.
Definitely not your run of the mill zombie novel, Frater isn’t content to portray mankind as deserving extinction. She weaves a nuanced tale that reminds us there is good and bad in all of us, and the individual ultimately makes the decision as to do good or evil. This thought-provoking read kept me awake several nights pondering the implications.
If you’re looking for something different in the zombie genre, pick up The Last Bastion of the Living here.
You won’t regret your decision.