First published back in October of 2023, the omnibus edition of David Moody’s ‘Autumn: The London Trilogy’ brought together the three books from the series as well as additional short stories (also directly from the series), which not only expand upon the overarching story, but also add interlocking sections to the complete tale.

These short stories are slotted in and amongst the three main books to create a chronologically complete and continuous story.

Detailed in-depth dissections of the three ‘London Trilogy’ books (collected within the omnibus) are linked here:
In-depth reviews of the additional ‘London Trilogy’ short stories / bonus chapters, are detailed below:

Barely A Sound (Part I) – 5 Pages
Over the years Birmingham had grown into a thriving, busy city. Although there were areas of the city which were largely free from the city’s constant footfall. Needless Alley was one such area. A quiet block-paved walkway that often went ignored. And so, on that fateful mild September morning when the world came to an end, only two pedestrians and a refuse lorry were on the alley. Two bodies falling to the concrete pavement in a world that has come to a sudden and undignified end…

Opening the thick tome that is the London Trilogy Omnibus, we’re greeted with the first of the bonus short stories. Here we have a sombre opening chapter which sets the scene for the end of the world on that Autumn morning. Interestingly, this opening short is set in Birmingham (the setting of the original books) rather than London – the principal location of this omnibus. Although doing this helps to stitch the series as a whole together. It’s a quietly moving opener. The world coming to an abrupt end…with barely a whimper…barely a sound.

Symbiosis – 12 Pages
Dominic Grove was doing another TV interview when the end of everything came. His political rival had started to clutch at his throat before collapsing to the floor in front of Dominic. Then the cameraman went down, closely followed by everyone else. Dominic’s first thought was how this could be some of the very best publicity. Dominic heroically jumping to the rescue. But it didn’t go that way. Instead, they all just died. And before long he was on his own. That was, until the dead started to rise up again. Then Dominic wished he was on his own. It was at this point he spotted the beacon upon the Monument to the Great Fire of London, illuminating the night sky. Other survivors were coming together. Other survivors, brought together through Piotr’s mission to clear away the dead…

Here we get to see two of the principal antagonists of the trilogy during the early days of the apocalypse, before they independently take to their respective leadership roles within the Monument community. In particular, we get to see Dominic being the inhuman, callous and uncaring politician immediately before the apocalypse strikes. And hell, does Moody paint the arsehole to be just that. And of course we see the early days of Piotr forging his place at the frontline of the new community at Monument. Here revealed to be the founding survivor who started it all off. Not that that was actually his intention. It’s a great little insight into the early days for these two characters, as well as the early days of the Monument grouping coming together. It’s also a great bridging story to slot into the trilogy, fleshing out those initial days of the apocalypse and providing the reader with added depth to these two key characters.

Until Death Do Us Part – 8 Pages
When they found out about her illness, both Barabara and Ron wished they hadn’t been told. Slowly but surely the dementia started to take a hold on Barabara. Up on the eighteenth floor of Hatton House, Ron found his world had come crashing down upon him. Within weeks he had become a recluse. His sole purpose in life now was to take care of his beloved wife. To tend to her needs. To make sure she was well looked after. In sickness as he had in health. But it was getting tough. He knew outside something catastrophic had happened. But that was out there. A different world entirely. What happened out there had no bearing upon what Ron needed to do. Barabara was his sole duty now. His sole focus. Until death do us part…

Awwwww…this is such a David Moody substory. It reminds me of the shorts contained within ‘Autumn: The Human Condition’ (2005). That real human element to the apocalypse. How every person has their own unique story within such an event. Here we have a minute snippet of an isolated existence, a devoted husband looking after his deteriorating wife, even after the world has ended. In ‘Autumn: Inferno’ (2022) we glimpsed a snapshot of Barabara and Ron’s story. A freezeframe snapshot of what their final few months might have involved, spent hidden away in their flat on the eighteenth floor. Now, here in this short story, we get to see the fuller picture. The sheer devotion, the love and loyalty, and ultimately the sad end to their time together within the flat. Classic Moody. In fact, it’s the addition of stories like this that make owning the omnibus edition (on top of the original hardback releases) absolutely essential for any diehard David Moody reader. Absolutely superb.

Barely A Sound (Part II) – 3 Pages
A little more than three months had passed since the human race had come to an end. It was now winter, and the conditions had changed dramatically. Without humans to maintain their once great cities, the infrastructure was beginning to succumb to the changing environment. Gutters were blocking, buildings were deteriorating. The removal of human involvement was having a profound effect on everything. None more so than along Needless Alley…

These ‘Barely A Sound’ interval-style chapters are so damn good. They help you take a step back from the storyline, the characters and the plot, and observe the impact of the end of humanity on the world. It’s such a thought-provoking vision – one that gets you thinking about the impact we as a race have on the world, and what would happen should we suddenly cease to exist. Moody offers us that insight with such a well thought through and ingeniously captivating vision. Having these brief moments of reflection, when we step back from it all and see the bigger picture, the world and how everything is changing, simply opens the ‘Autumn’ world up even more.

A Face In The Crowd – 14 Pages
The end of civilisation in Bishop’s Stortford was about as exciting as life had ever been in the sleepy Hertfordshire town. Other than for Cheryl, the rest of the human race appeared to have just rolled over and given up without a fight, barely even managing a whimper or a shrug. For Cheryl however, life was now at a dramatic turning point for her. As cliched as it sounded, it had taken the end of the world for Cheryl to finally sort her shit out. Get herself back on track. Quit the booze, quit the drugs, and actually start living life. So, over the ensuing weeks, she’d done just that. Until that bigass group of survivors turned up and messed everything up in her hometown, with all their noise and fighting. Still, she had something they didn’t. She knew how to hide amongst the dead. Become just another face in the crowd…

Oh, damn this is a good story. Here we have a new character join the story, one who forms a bridge between a couple of key sections within ‘Autumn: Exodus’ (2023). That whole sequence in Stansted where we find out Piotr had fucked things up for those hiding out, before the dead turned up and shooed his group off. Well, here we have the missing snippets to that particular story. The connecting aspects that slot into the whole thing and reveal what actually transpired. And it all came down to one girl and a wonderfully portrayed character arch. A classic Moody scenario. Brilliantly written and wonderfully evocative of the human journey through the emotional minefield of the apocalypse. Genius.

Biomass – 17 Pages
The small village of Calkley was nestled in a long hill range, within the depths of rural Yorkshire. When everything came to an end, Joe Parkinson had immediately set about getting everything set up so he could continue to live in the cottage that Hayley and he had called home. With so much to get done, he’d barely had time to grieve the loss of his wife or their unborn child. Before long, the situation became even more treacherous, when the dead got up and started to walk again. Nonetheless, Joe was a practical man, and so he’d stayed put, keeping himself busy with clearing the dead away and advertising his presence on the billboards around the village. And it wasn’t long before he had company. However, the numbers of dead were increasing by the day. They couldn’t continue disposing of the dead in this way for much longer. There were just too many of them. They had to find an alternative way to survive. To maybe redirect the dead away from Calkley and towards the old, decommissioned power station. There, the dead could be horded within the heavy fencing that surrounded the facility. It was a plan. But not one Joe could get on board with…

Here we have another textbook Moody offering. An isolated rural setting akin to that of ‘One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning’ (2017) or indeed ‘Strangers’ (2014). As always, the chapter is character-driven, with Joe and the four survivors who arrive into Calkley (Mortimer, Donald, Val, and Madeline) completely leading the direction of the tale. As you’d expect, it’s not long before disagreements with how to tackle the shuffling masses of dead begin to emerge. Yep, you guessed it, a few badly thought through decisions invariably lead to further problems, until it all comes to a dramatic head. Such a superb short tale / additional chapter. Moody doing exactly what he does best.

Where’s Wally? – 13 Pages
Piotr and his gang of survivors were travelling north to Ledsey Cross when they came across the manor house where Joe, Madeline and Mortimer had settled into. By now however, Piotr was losing the loyalty and support of those in his group. Kelly was the first to go. The first to jump ship and run off at the first sign of somewhere safe, away from Piotr. The others were thinking similar too. Piotr was losing them fast. And he wouldn’t let that happen. Even if it meant taking matters into his own hands. Even if it meant killing the lot of them, one by one…

This story follows on from the ‘Biomass’ story, although a few chapters later in the grand scheme of things. As ‘Autumn: Exodus’ (2023) begins to close in on its own final sequence of events, with the group’s collective journey to Ledsey Cross, we start to see the characters killed off one after the other. In this additional chapter, we get to see what actually happened to a few of them, and the depths Piotr was willing to plummet. As you’d probably expect considering where we are within the larger storyline, this added chapter is one filled to the brim with pent up anger alongside the delivery of gritty vengeance. Again, the added story fills in gaps, broadens the London Trilogy storyline, and connects a few dots. It also demonstrates further exactly how much of an absolute cunt Piotr is.

Barely A Sound (Parts III and IV) – 7 Pages
It’s now spring and the undead have largely perished. A few remain, scattered amongst the remains of humanities existence. Along Needless Alley, a dog searches for food. The buildings either side of the feral looking mutt were crumbling already. Without mankind to maintain anything, the world is changing rapidly.

Once summer arrives, the cities are now largely green corridors, with nature clawing back its right on the world. Those few survivors that remain have largely given up on any sort of future for humanity. Living now is merely for the sake of existence. There is no long-term future. No next generation. Just the final few seasons as the next era in the world’s existence begins…

Just as with the ‘Barely A Sound’ shorts, these final two chapters, which show the next two seasons following the apocalypse, take a step back from the ‘Autumn’ storyline and instead depict the change in the world, the gradual eradication of humanity, and the start of a whole new era. We follow a poor, desperate old mutt as it searches for food having just survived the harsh winter months, then we follow one of the few remaining survivors – a woman in her thirties named Orla – who explores the remains of Birmingham as she eeks out the last days of her own existence. It’s a sad but poignantly calm ending to the series. A petering out of humanity that makes you ponder the purpose in it all. A moment to reflect and consider life for what it truly is. Such a fitting ending after all of the fighting, suffering and turmoil of the trilogy. Moody sums it up perfectly with his final signoff…”In the end, it was all wiped out with barely even a sound”.

The Sleeping Dead – [Special Bonus Story] – 8 Pages
Leslie is a fifty-nine-year-old grammy with a busted knee. Not your typical survivor of the apocalypse, if you were to go by the post-apocalyptic books Leslie used to love reading. Now here she is, the sole survivor in the dusty town of Warrenton. Just her and her trusty dog, Angel. She’d busied herself keeping the place nice. Mowing the lawns and looking after the street. That was until the invaders turned up and started ransacking the place. Then Leslie knew she needed to do something about it. She wasn’t going to just sit back and allow them to ruin her beautiful town. She might be fifty-nine with a busted knee, but she could still hold her own when it came to surviving in a post-apocalyptic world…

As Moody explains in his author’s note prior to starting this bonus story, the short doesn’t in itself form part of the London Trilogy, but rather it’s set over the same period of time, but in the US. When Moody set about writing these bonus short stories, he ran a competition to put a lucky winner into one of the stories. Leslie Schneider Beard from Warrenton, Missouri won the competition, and so here we have it, Leslie’s experience of the end of the world. And it’s an absolute corker!

The short is written as if Leslie was writing a letter to an unknown reader. It’s a simple but effective way of giving Leslie a voice. A mechanism for us to quickly and easily bond with the character. What we have then is a story somewhere between an aging ‘I Am Legend’ (1954) and a ‘Deathlands’ (1986 - 2015) story. What’s great to see is that Moody has continued to ponder the “what ifs” in detail. How for example, when the end took place, in the UK it was mid-morning, whilst in the US it would have been in the middle of the night. So, the majority of the dead would have been tucked up in bed. As such, they’re generally all locked away in their homes, still in their PJs, making Leslie’s zombie-apocalypse more the ‘Sleeping Dead’ than the ‘Walking Dead’! This final bonus story was an absolute joy to read from start to end. I quickly fell in love with the character of Leslie. The short tale is witty, but yet so in keeping with Moody’s love of putting normal everyday people into monumental, apocalyptic scenarios. Ergo Leslie meets the Autumn zombie apocalypse…and kicks some fucking arse too!

DLS Summary:
What we have with this beautifully presented deluxe omnibus edition of ‘Autumn: The London Trilogy’ is nothing short of an absolute triumph in zombie-apocalypse fiction. It’s a heavy tome that’s been carefully crafted to produce a massive, all-encompassing storyline, running at over eight-hundred immensely-engrossing pages. It’s epic in its delivery, yet still holds the characters at its core. Another true masterpiece of post-apocalyptic fiction to add to the author’s already impressive catalogue of end-of-the-world achievements. Honestly, this is such a magnificent read. Truly breathtaking.

The omnibus runs for a total of 840 pages.

© DLS Reviews

‘Autumn’ instalments:


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