First published in June of 2017, South African author Deon Meyer’s novel ‘Fever’ offered up a thick slab of epic post-apocalyptic fiction.

DLS Synopsis:
For many months it had been just the two of them travelling together.  Thirteen-year-old Nico Storm and his father Willem.  Some eleven months ago they’d hidden away as humankind died around them.   The result of an unrelenting fever that spread across the globe, killing mercilessly as it went.  Within just a few short months the virus had wiped out ninety-five per cent of the world population.

Willem and Nico knew they weren’t the only survivors in this desolate new world.  Every now and again they would see others.  Often just the briefest glimpse of a fellow survivor – keeping low, keeping out of sight.  And of course there were those that meant them harm.  Thugs and villains, who even after all that had happened, would take whatever they wanted without a care for others.  Those and the wild and hungry packs of feral dogs.

But Willem Storm was a forward thinker.  A man who had a vision for a new world.  A new existence.  A new community, rebuilt from what had been left behind.  It started off with a pamphlet.  A simple printed sheet declaring their objectives.  A New Beginning for Good People.  An orderly, open, democratic and free new society in Vanderkloof.  A place where they could start again.  A place they would call Amanzi.

At first it was slow.  But soon enough word got around, the pamphlet that was scattered wherever they could get it to, reached more and more survivors, and gradually Willem’s vision became a reality.  But nothing would come easy for the community.  They would have to endure hardship and loss, fight off bandits and murderers.  But with the help of those who stood by him, Willem’s Amanzi would become a heart-wrenching reality.

This is the story of how it became so.  This is the Amanzi History Project.  This is Nico’s story…

DLS Review:
Once in a blue moon you’ll come across a novel that immerses you so completely into a world created by the incredible writing and storytelling of an author that you’ll literally spend almost every waking hour wanting to keep on reading.  It’s the very definition of a novel you cannot put down.  A tale that so utterly captivates you, that draws you into its mesmerising chapters and layers, that you’ll feel transported into the story’s very fabric.  Compelled to read on and on.  To become a part of its unfolding history.

South African author Deon Meyer’s epic post-apocalyptic novel ‘Fever’ is just that.  Within its hefty page count you’ll find a tale so rich in characters, so magnificent in its vast reaches and poignant messages, so complex and yet so perfectly in balance with itself, that it carries you along on its journey with a compelling draw.

I remember, as a young teenager, first commencing on the epic journey that is Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ (1978).  It’s one of the first novels that introduced me to the whole post-apocalyptic fiction subgenre.  Reading it changed me.  Left me breathless and pondering the enormity of the subject matter for months afterwards.  For me, not many novels have offered anything close to this since then.

Nevertheless (and I don’t say this lightly), in reading ‘Fever’ the novel managed to once again recapture such an awe-inspiring devotion in this seasoned post-apocalyptic reader.  It sucked me in and within twenty or thirty pages I became utterly consumed by it.

The novel commences like a tale akin to Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ (2006), with father and son travelling the desolate roads and stretches of the South African landscape following the near annihilation of humanity.  Here you witness your first glimpses of the vicious hostility and hardship of being a survivor post-fever.  However, it’s not long before the first tentative whispers of the real foundations behind the tale start to form.  The beginnings of Willem Storm’s community – Amanzi.

To draw parallels to so-called ‘Cosy Catastrophe’ novels such as ‘The Day Of The Triffids’ (1951), ‘The Death Of Grass’ (1956) or Terry Nation’s ‘Survivors’ (1976) would be fair in some ways, but still you would feel it doesn’t do the complexity of the political, social and environmental elements brought into the tale true justice.

Furthermore, through his novel Meyer exposes the rawness of the human condition in all its grit and glory.  The novel will pull on your heartstrings time and again, with characters so magnificently fleshed-out that you’ll feel bonded to each and every one of them.  Of course there’s vast swaths of loss and suffering slicing at the raw flesh of the tale, but in amongst this there’s so much hope, love and passionate devotion that it’s impossible not to fall in love with the characters and their hard worn journey.

I’m reluctant to expand further upon anything else in the tale, for want not to ruin the numerous mysteries and twists contained within.  There’s not one chapter, not one page, that doesn’t keep you pinned to the unfolding story.  A coming-of-age tale that captures more in its breadth than you could possibly imagine.

A truly, unforgettably spectacular story.

The novel runs for a total of 530 pages.  

© DLS Reviews

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