Book 2 in the Hell on Earth series is called Legion and follows directly on from the first book, The Gates. Written by the excellent Iain Rob Wright, Legion was published in 2016 and brings us back into the remains of a world and the remains of humanity being devastated by an army of hell’s demons.
“What will you do when the world ends”
Iain Rob Wright is the author of a load of books in the horror and suspense genre. Some of the more famous, you may have/should have read are the best selling ASBO, the critically acclaimed The Final Winter and the apocalyptic novels, Ravage and Savage. You can read our thoughts on Ravage and Savage by following the links. You can also read our thoughts on book one of the Hell on Earth series, The Gates, here.
Legion carries directly on from The Gates. We left our few remaining characters a short while back in the midst of a devastating war. Well, not really a war. War kind of suggests two opposing forces tearing lumps out of each other. This was more of an annihilation. Most of the characters we met over the course of the book came to an end in brutal ways. We pick up with those who survive.
Tony Cross is still fighting the good fight, out in Syria in a combined force of many faiths and races. British, German, Syrian, Turkish, Israeli – you name it. They stand side by side fighting for survival. Shame it took the end of the world for humanity to finally come together. This location is also the source of the one gate that was closed. It seemed to implode on itself when an ex-terrorist/now person? went through it. Despite this one gate closing, thousands more have opened and there is little in the way of hope.
Alongside the mass of demons, fallen angels stalk every land. Impervious to damage, they wipe out the frail human resistance they come across. People turn on each other, the police, as a force, are gone. The army, destroyed. The end is coming and it is coming quick. There are little groups though, still trying to defend themselves, their streets and their families. A collection of street thugs from Brixton led by the excellent character, Vamps, turn away from crime and start trying to protect their streets though mainly from the people turning to crime on them. They save a shopkeeper from being attacked before rushing to the rescue of a young woman, about to be raped by a racist thug. In book one we also read this part but from the perspective of the young woman, Mina.
Near London, a collection of people have gathered at a church. A policeman, Richard Honeywell, is there with his wife and son along with a couple other officers and civilians. There are also a little crew of troublemakers that were due to be arrested who are now part of their last stand. The crew, headed by a young man called Aaron have made as much of a barricade as they could. They have rolled cars in front of the church, put scaffolding in the way and create a platform to keep watch from. They are about as ready as they can be for what is surely headed their way.
Perhaps the one last real bastion of hope, though unknown to everyone yet, is Rick. At the end of book one, we saw Daniel, a fallen angel trying to redeem himself, give part of himself to Rick in order to bring Rick back to life. Rick feels strange, but is alive. Daniel appears to not be long for this world. Ricks group including his brother Keith, Diane and Maddy become wary of both Daniel and Rick when they hear what happened between them both. Rick has a sinking feeling that they are being followed and Daniel is able to warn them that they are being hunted by a demon known as The Caretaker. The caretaker is essentially Hell’s own bogeyman.
We start to see the extent of Rick’s powers as he and Daniel combine to take out a whole army of demons and just escape the clutches of The Caretaker. At least for now. Separated from the rest of their team, they search and come across a completely unexpected sight Humans being taken prisoner. It seems that some souls of hell need a body to come in to and woman, children, men are being lined up at different gates allowing hell’s darkest souls to jump into their body. We later find out the some members of our government have made deals with demons to hand over these people for possession in exchange for their lives. Damn politicians!
In other parts Captain Granger has set sail to find his kids in England. They are headed to Portsmouth, chased by Hernandez. Hernandez blames all his misfortunes on Granger and is determined to kill him at all costs. With Daniel fading, Rick and his friends being hunted by The Caretaker, the war feels nearly over. A few last pockets of resistance try to survive in a church or an office block and every other human seems either dead or now captive, waiting for their new host to take control of their body. Vamps and his depleted gang are still fighting and even take out another gate when they throw an old foe in but with thousands more open, what hope is there?
In this case, very little but just as we end a small ray of hope appears in the most unlikely of images. A tired looking, ex terrorist, stumbles towards Vamps and explains how he entered a gate in Syria. More importantly, he now knows how to kill the giants.
Legion is almost a direct continuation of the story started in The Gates. It does take a little step back in time to fill out some of the characters we haven’t learnt much on yet, like Vamps and his crew. At first I was a little frustrated with this as I wanted to carry on from where The Gates left off. Having said that, once you start reading about the different characters, disappointment is quickly replaced with intrigue and interest. The characters are really well crafted with Vamps being particularly interesting to me.
Much like the first book, Legion keeps up a relentless pace allowing neither the reader nor the characters any time to relax. This helps you envision the dire circumstances each character faces as they jump from miserable battle to miserable battle. I do also like how you can read between the lines and measure the characters against real life stereo types. The poor banding together to survive while some humans turn on each other. The rich and powerful politicians sacrificing the people to protect themselves. It adds to the interest for me.
Legion does also spend a little more time fleshing out the characters of demons and fallen angels. I find this to be hugely enjoyable and intriguing. That helps with the sense of foreboding that runs through the books. It explains their reasoning and why they won’t stop until humanity is wiped out. The whole story is a journey through misery and loss. You never really get a sense of anything positive coming – it genuinely feels like you are reading about the end. Humanity is falling in spectacularly gory fashion with most pages being blood-soaked. Characters of all ages, sex and race are ripped limb from limb in explicit detail as demons rip through the remains of society.
Legion is well written. I like how it is structured. Each chapter dealing with a specific character story lines. Legion is also chock full of exciting and interesting characters, both good and bad. The story is gloriously fast paced, action packed and a real page turner that deserves to be read. Just make sure you read The Gates first.
Head to Iain Rob Wright’s website, here, to grab copies of all his books and to find out more on the man himself.
Legion by Iain Rob Wright
The Final Score - 8/10