Fresh, exciting, and shocking and a new post-apocalyptic tale to enjoy.
A nuclear war had destroyed society on Earth and left pockets of survivors scattered across its surface, fighting for every aspect of life. However, below the surface near the former village of Box in Wiltshire, there existed one final remnant of the world from before the holocaust, the advanced, secret city of Genesis. Built and populated by the military and scientific community in case such a catastrophic event as this happened, Genesis had continued to thrive deep inside the Earth as the desperate survivors on the surface suffered nuclear winter and the collapse of the world completely unaware of its existence. But the leaders of Genesis knew what was going on above them and plotted to remove the sick and savage surface survivors. Their goal was to clear the way so when the Earth recovered, the people of Genesis could return to the land and restart society. The surface survivors, however, had other plans.
Three months ago, Alex Carhill and other survivors from rough cobbled-together communities in Wales and Scotland had discovered Genesis and their plans. En masse, they had breached the defenses of the underground city, and now he and leaders from both the surface and city were working hard to meld the two communities into one even though both held deep-seated resentment against the other. But then the rumors of survivors from the European continent flooding their island home’s shores began to surface. This wave of humanity was trying to escape a deadly new plague that had decimated survivor communities throughout France and Spain, and many of the new arrivals were infected, sick, and dying.
The combined Genesis leadership argued fiercely over what to do to stop the steady advancement of the new disease. Some proposed turning the wretched survivors back or killing them all as they arrived to prevent the disease from getting a foothold in England. But others successfully argued to launch a medical expedition to collect samples of the disease from the stricken and work to develop methods to treat, prevent, and cure it. Alex is tapped to lead the medical mission of mercy, but the convoy is not far along in their trek when they discover the new plague isn’t the greatest danger that has landed on their shores.
The Rise of Alpha is the second novel in the Savage Dawn series by Robert Cole. An exciting adventure story of survival, betrayal, and overcoming impossible odds, there seemed to be something surprising happening with every turn of the page. It was an easy-to-read and very enjoyable tale.
Alex Carhill, our hero, returns from book one along with his girlfriend, Elaine, and many others who will be familiar to the series’ readers. However, the cast of characters does not remain stagnant as tragedy strikes, and the author’s excellent world-building provides many new faces to love or hate.
It was great to see new threats evolve as well as new champions emerge as the story progressed. There are some great characters, and the Alpha society is pretty amazing and very well-developed. I found it easy to get behind the idea of the Alphas being the next step in human evolution and liked the extrasensory aspects of their development a lot. I liked that the author created something new, and we didn’t have the same old marauding bands of evil scavengers or zombies. Though I enjoy both of those staples in post-apocalyptic stories, it was awesome to face different and fresh evils.
Two horrifying threats, other than the plague, of course, gave me the willies. One was the subplot of how the city of Genesis attempted to wipe out the surface survivors before they discovered their underground hideaway. This storyline was shocking, and I was quite disturbed by what they had tried to do. The other threat was created when everyone’s pets were left to fend for themselves after the missile blasts. I love my dogs, but I did catch myself giving them the side-eye as I read late at night.
Another thing I enjoyed about this story was the setting. The author references actual towns and villages, and roadways which ground the action to the real world. Most people enjoy being able to visualize a book’s setting, especially if it is a familiar one. A map is conveniently provided to help set the location even more quickly.
I recommend The Rise of Alpha to readers of post-apocalyptic fiction, especially if they happen to be from the areas where most of the action takes place. For the best enjoyment, Nuclear Midnight, the first book in the series, should be read beforehand. Readers may be able to figure out references to events in the past and still have a good story, but really, Nuclear Midnight was an entertaining tale on its own. Both are quick, interesting, and fun selections in this genre.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.