It is funny how something as important and fulfilling as reading can slip from your daily routine. Like a good many, I spend a lot of time reading at work, this combined with keeping up with the many splendid weblogs that I follow rather leaves me with little time to get to grips with the latest page turner – I am either too tired or too easily distracted. So Radio Hope by Sean McLachlan was just what I needed to get me back in the habit, as it were.
This is a cracking little tale set in the near future; with just enough reference to the past to prick the social conscience of the reader. The world, as we know it, has been ravished by war and ecological disasters and is now populated by inhabitants that will seem all to familiar to those that enjoy the genre. It is the interaction between the various factions that drive the story and Sean paces this first instalment in the ‘Toxic World’ series beautifully. To quote directly from the book:
In a world shattered by war, pollution and disease. . .
A gunslinging mother longs to find a safe refuge for her son.
A frustrated revolutionary delivers water to villagers living on a toxic waste dump.The assistant mayor of humanity's last city hopes he will never have to take command.One thing gives them the promise of a better future--Radio Hope, a mysterious station that broadcasts vital information about surviving in a blighted world. But when a mad prophet and his army of fanatics march out of the wildlands on a crusade to purify the land with blood and fire, all three will find their lives intertwining, and changing forever.
The fast paced and well constructed narrative make this a quick read and I couldn’t help think of it more as a screenplay that a novel. There is a sense that Sean is very much teeing up a series rather than a stand alone story, but it is not necessary the poorer for it. I shall certainly be interested to see how he approaches book two, perhaps from a completely different perspective? Perhaps looking at the siege of the city from of the fanatics? Certainly lots of ideas for gaming scenarios and for that Radio Hope is awarded three crowns.