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With their parents separated, Leon and his younger sister are now living in London. Young Leon is finding it difficult to make friends, but his keen intellect makes him interested in bigger things than the latest toys or fashions. Across the web stories start to emerge about a plague outbreak in Africa, a plague which is one hundred per cent infectious and which kills by liquefying the victim in less than an hour...
Re-Made (2016. 371 pages) is the first in a new post-apocalyptic series, written by Alex Scarrow, better known for his TimeRiders series of books.
The story has some interesting elements especially involving the virus. The speed with which it kills points to some man made organism as a natural virus requires an incubation period for it to replicate, grow and infect another organism. This one turns all soft tissue into pulp, leaving only the bones, nails and teeth.
World organisations swing into action but they are in equal parts horrified and ill-equipped to deal with something which kills so indiscriminately. Initial reports think that the virus will be self-limiting as it kills too quickly, but as the virus springs up in different countries, Leon knows in his guts that this is worse than the news reports and that they should flee London.
What follows is a fairly straight forward journey into an England which is disintegrating. Leon, Grace and their mother attempt to make it to Norwich to their grandparents. The people they meet are stock characters for an end of the world scenario, the stuffy man who acts like the old hierarchies still stand, and the gross male who thinks that the end of the world means that being a misogynist is ok.
Scarrow writes the book from various perspectives, although the majority of the book is seen from Leon’s perspective. This being a young adult novel, we can forgive the ancillary characters for lacking in shades of black and white, although this is not true of Leon nor of the virus the reality of which is slowly revealed, leading to an ending which owes a lot to Phase IV (1974) as the main text also owes much to Survivors (1975).
That said the pace does not slow and you’ll likely find that you’ll be tempted to read the whole book in one sitting.