Post-Apocalyptic Review Series by Guest Blogger, Ryan King, Author of the Land of Tomorrow Trilogy.
One of the more interesting characteristics of some post-apocalyptic tales is the sense of total isolation. The world has been destroyed in whole or part and survivors are few and uncertain. William Brinkley’s The Last Ship is a tale of a fictional Navy ship call the USS Nathan James and it is hard to imagine any group of people being more isolated.
The story begins almost immediately after the Nathan James has launched her nuclear tipped tomahawk missiles from the Arctic Circle at Orel, Russia completely obliterating that city and its people. It quickly becomes apparent that this is but a small portion of a much larger world-wide nuclear exchange that ravages the planet.
The Last Ship is a fantastic post-apocalyptic story that is fresh and unique. I cannot think of another story that is similar. The tale is believable and well told. The characters are fully developed and complex. The only criticism I have of the book is that there was a point when the story seemed to take a hard left. Throughout the book, discipline and order were stressed to keep panic and despair in check. Yet, at one point the crew seems to at least partially abandon these tenants which had kept them safe and turn into sex-crazed caricatures who willingly accept a system of forced mass polygamy. This abrupt twist seemed to go against the entire theme of the story and appeared almost as an intentional shock for the reader. Despite this minor criticism, I very highly recommend this book and intend to watch the upcoming mini-series. Read on if you want more of the plot twists.
(SPOILER ALERT) Thomas, the ship’s captain, seeks to keep his crew together as they search for answers. All radio and satellite transmissions are non-existent and as the ship’s nuclear fuel runs low, they search for a habitable port. Some crew members however wish to return to America despite the almost certain death and destruction they will encounter there. A group leads a successful mutiny and one-third of the crew leaves the Nathan James in smaller ships to head across the Atlantic against all logic.
The ship continues through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, and the Straits of Acheron. All along the way they find nothing but death, heavy radiation, and nuclear winter. It quickly becomes apparent that, with the exception of a Russian nuclear submarine they encountered earlier, they may be the only humans left alive on the planet. The crew finally make their way into the South Pacific and by chance find a habitable island where they begin growing crops and attempting to continue the human race through a selective breeding program. Things quickly go wrong on a number of levels.
There are so many directions the tv series can go. I hope it hits the mark for a post-apocalyptic show.
Ryan King launched his indie author career in 2012 while keeping his day job with the US Army. Watch for his upcoming guest spot here featuring monthly reviews of post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian fiction. For more information about Ryan and his writing visit the link here.