Horror Book Review: The Samaritan by Dave Jeffery (A Quiet Apocalypse Book 3)
Acclaimed British author, Dave Jeffery propels us back into the dark and thought provoking world of A Quiet Apocalypse with the 3rd book in the series. This is The Samaritan, released via Demain Publishing on the 7th July 2021.
Since the first book, A Quiet Apocalypse reached me, I have been absolutely mesmerised by this world conjured up by Dave Jeffery’s imagination. The expansive second book, Cathedral, surpassed expectation and I start The Samaritan confident that this will be special. Confident in the strength and depth of the story and confident in the consistency and ability of the author.
The world of A Quiet Apocalypse is one that just has to be visited. We all know Dave Jeffery is a master of post apocalyptic fiction but that term is far too restrictive for the A Quiet Apocalypse series so far. Books as full of suspense, aggression, crippling fear and intense examination of human psychology.
The disease known as MNG-U has staked its claim on humanity and ended the world. Those who survive have been robbed of their hearing, deafened in this quiet apocalypse. But in the city of Cathedral, they have found sanctuary.
Inside the walls, the meagre populace relies on harsh governance to keep them safe. Outside the walls they depend on Samaritans, search teams who scour the Wilderness for both resource and threat. Bound by an oath to maintain and defend their city, Samaritans are the line separating Cathedral from disorder and ruin, a mandate they pursue ruthlessly and without question.
On a routine recon, one Samaritan will find himself injured and alone and in desperate need of guidance. Where loyalties between the oath made to his beloved city will clash with promises from his past. Now he must question everything he knows, including his own purpose.
Because, lost in the Wilderness, redemption is about to become the only way to stay alive.
A Quiet Apocalypse is set in a world dragged to it’s knees by a deadly virus. A mutated meningitis strain known as MNG-U has decimated the earth leaving few survivors. Of those few they have been separated into 3 subsections of the remaining population. Those who survived but have been left deaf, a depleting group of people who were already deaf pre virus, and a smaller group of those who can still hear labelled as Harks. Those who were deaf pre virus have become the point of blame for those who lost their hearing.
Labelled as “harbingers”, they are not just despised, they are actively hunted and destroyed for “what they have done” to the rest of humanity. For those that are now deaf, the world is a wild and dangerous place until Cathedral came to be. A safe haven for these remnants of lost society, the town is well protected and guarded, populated by those that sign up and believe in there common goal. Mainly to survive, but also to exact retribution upon all Harbingers. Cathedral is not completely self sustaining though and that is where a group of the population known as The Samaritans come in.
Samaritans venture out into the Wilderness, beyond the wall of Cathedral with 4 main goals. To forage for supplies and necessities, to rescue others like them and bring them to Cathedral, to capture Harks for their guard dog like needs and finally, but no less importantly, to kill Harbingers. Sometimes it seems it is preferred if they could capture a Harbinger to bring them back to Cathedral and allow the whole populace to exact revenge simultaneously. Yes, Cathedral is a place of safety and necessity for many but its arms are cold and suffocating for anyone that does not fit their new world order.
You could comfortably argue that Cathedral is a cult and it’s residents are surely brainwashed or misled but it isn’t that straightforward. Dave Jeffery wonderfully explores the base human need to have reason. To place blame. Things happen for a reason, they have to, we can’t accept anything else. As time has passed within the cruel, safe walls, it is not rules or law that see the residents hate harbingers. It is deep rooted and has become a natural way of things. It is their fault and for that, they deserve punishment.
And that really becomes one of the base ideas explored in depth across The Samaritan as we get up close and personal with one such Samaritan named Nathan. Nathan, like all of Cathedral’s populace is a deeply scarred person, mourning the loss of his partner and living by the mantra inadvertently left to him by his partner’s dying wish. To survive, no matter what. Nathan had a troubled upbringing, coming out as homosexual in a home that suffered at the hands of a violent and abusive father. Something he touches on regularly throughout the story showing the damage caused was long lasting and deep reaching.
Nathan is heading outside of Cathedral’s walls with a group of Samaritans led by a violent, drunk man called Snelson whose hatred of Harbingers seems to trump even the rest of Cathedral somehow. On this particular raid, Snelson hears tale of a group of Harbingers living together – a nest. His hatred for them leads him to decide to attack with his goal being to capture them and bring them back to Cathedral for a ritual sacrifice to celebrate an anniversary. Lovely. His heavy alcohol use and blind hatred leads to bad decision making and the Samaritans suffer heavy losses with most dead and Nathan, severely wounded, who gets left for dead.
But dead he is not, instead painfully waking from his injuries to find himself held captive. Grateful to be alive, his gratitude soon turns to disgust when he realises those who have been tending to him are Harbingers. A small family who appear to be well established consisting of Katie, Joseph and their child, Lily. Out in the Wilderness, the family have made a relatively comfortable life for themselves, farming and growing food and seemingly protected by a man called Stokes. Like all good apocalypses, Stokes has becomes that person who recruits muscle and polices the Wilderness offering protection for a price.
And no price is to high for the family, the Bradbury’s. They exist for one thing only and that is to ensure their daughter’s survival at all cost. Now, with Nathan in their midst, her life is more in danger unless Nathan can be made to see the madness in Cathedral’s ways. Nathan still lives by his mantra of “stay alive, no matter what” and, as he believes the fact his life was saved by Harbingers will be enough for him to be killed as a traitor by Cathedral, he sets about putting his mantra into action. He works towards accepting the Bradbury’s, especially Lily, and as he recovers him from his wounds, he spends time analysing and re-evaluating his life, before, during and after Cathedral.
He grows closer to Lily, closer to the family despite struggling with his instincts and we follow his psychological battle watching a person with deep rooted beliefs try to change their nature.
There is so much more I want to write down but I would hate to give too much away in a story that dazzles from the off and will leave your jaw on the floor by the end. Like all the A Quiet Apocalypse stories, there is so much more to The Samaritan. The exploration of mental health, belief, prejudice and fear is astonishingly deep and considered. The world has already been crafted so perfectly in previous books and I genuinely feel like I can visualise it all so clearly yet every paragraph, every page, adds a deeper layer of context. The writing is intelligent and layered and the story is paced to perfection. Every character is developed perfectly and carefully and invoke genuine feelings of love, hate, respect and disgust.
The loss of voice for the characters is the stroke of genius here with inner monologues giving us a true and often harrowing insight into the psyche of each character in a series, and a story, that is emotional, terrifying and intensely thought provoking.
The Samaritan, a story that would work well enough as a stand alone, but really shines as part of the series, is a phenomenal accomplishment. Dave Jeffery once again proves to be one of the most consistent, brilliant authors we have here in the UK today.
Grab a copy of this amazing story now, The Samaritan, from Amazon, here.
Dave Jeffery Links
Amazon – Goodreads – Website – Facebook – Twitter – Demain Publishing
The Samaritan by Dave Jeffery (A Quiet Apocalypse Book 3)
Book Title: The Samaritan
Book Author: Dave Jeffery
Book Format: EBook
The Final Score - 10/10