First published back in June of 2015, Scottish author Michael Logan’s ‘World War Moo’ formed the sequel to his tongue-in-cheek bovine zombie apocalypse novel ‘Apocalypse Cow’ (2012).

DLS Synopsis:
It all started off with a frenzied cow which the McTavish & Sons abattoir found they couldn’t kill.  No matter how many bolts they put in the animal’s brain, it wouldn’t stay dead.  The government quickly moved in and burned the abattoir to the ground.  They knew exactly what was going on.  After all, they were the ones who were responsible.  It had been their experimental virus that had gotten out.  But the problem had gotten out of hand, and before long the entire UK was dealing with an epidemic of blood-thirsty and sex-crazed animals.  And now the virus has moved on to mankind.

Whilst Great Britain attempts to deal with their problem, the rest of the world looks on.  Russia, China and the US decide to come together in the interest of humanity.  And so ‘Operation Excision’ was born.  The UK was still just too much of a risk.  Drastic times called for drastic actions.  Together the world leaders knew they had to eradicate the problem – which meant only one thing – they would have to wipe Britain off the face of the Earth.

However, the leader of this new infected Britain, Tony Campbell, would do whatever it takes to keep his county (and more importantly his family) from being wiped out.  Even if it means refitting their Trident missiles with refrigerated warheads filled with infected blood and firing them at Europe.  After all, if everyone had the virus, then there would be no need for any further violence.

Meanwhile, after Geldof Peters’ grandfather learns that Geldof’s hippy mother, Fanny Peters, is still alive and hiding out in a remote camp in Scotland, he decides to hire a squad of mercenaries to go to the UK and get her out.  To arrange this, he sends Geldof to Nairobi to meet with the mercenaries and organise the mission.  However, Geldof has other ideas.  He wants to go with them to the UK.  He wants to be there when they locate his mother.  He knows she’ll take some persuading to come with them – and he should be the one to do it.

Meanwhile, despite being one of the only un-infected left in the UK, sixteen-year-old Ruan Peat has somehow managed to stay alive and is making her way to Edinburgh in order to reach her parents.  But with the rest of the population infected with the virus, it’s a journey wrought with danger every step of the way.

Great Britain is now a hotbed of frenzied sex and bloodthirsty violence.  Tony Campbell is doing what he can to try to keep the rest of the world from reacting.  But along with everyone else, he knows that their time is quickly running out…

DLS Review:
So here we have the follow-up to Michael Logan’s ingeniously over-the-top zombie-cow novel ‘Apocalypse Cow’ (2012).  If you’ve read the first book, you’ll have a fair idea of the tongue-in-cheek madness that’s to be expected within the sequel.  And as far as the outlandish apocalyptic craziness goes – Logan doesn’t disappoint.  It’s all pretty darn wacky - with in-jokes, random film quotes, and off-the-wall hilarity the main meal of the day.

The novel kicks off a couple of years after the events detailed in ‘Apocalypse Cow’ (2012).  We’re now seeing a bigger picture of the epidemic.  The rest of the world is feeling the financial strain caused by the viral outbreak contained within the UK.  And the risk of the virus getting out and infecting the rest of Europe (along with the rest of the world) is still far too high.  The various world leaders know it.  And so does the leader of the new infected Britain - Tony Campbell.

With this, the story counts down to the day when Britain will be nuked to hell.  This is the principal plot that sets the whole timeframe for the story.  Indeed, chapter after chapter it counts down the days until the nukes are to be launched.  But this isn’t the story’s only plot.  Inside of this larger plotline we have a handful of secondary stories which follow different characters (most of who appeared in the first novel) as they deal with the chaotic madness of this infected Britain.

Of course, geeky teenager Geldof Peters takes on the principal protagonist role once again.  He gets himself back into Britain alongside a team of hired mercenaries in order to extract his nymphomaniac hippy mother.  And they’ve only got a few days to do it before all hell breaks loose and Britain is bombed to hades.

Alongside this you have hapless reporter Lesley McBrien who’s hot on the heels of another career defining story that (of course) lands her in hot water once again.  And yes you’ve guessed it, that means she’s back in the UK and fighting for her life with the infected everywhere and sniffing out her uninfected blood.

What’s interesting about the novel is how the emphasis on comedy and wacky madness has shifted somewhat.  Where the first novel was all about the wacky zombie-bovine laughs, this second instalment leans more towards political satire.  Don’t get me wrong, the over-the-top madness is still there in absolute abundance.  Indeed, Logan’s kept his tongue firmly wedged in his cheek throughout the length of the tale.  But there’s a whole ‘bigger picture’ added to the tale which not only gives it more depth, but also layers on the social and political commentary with a pretty damn thick brush.

The blood, and guts, and overall gore-levels have also all been toned down.  Whether this was a purposeful decision or not, ‘World War Moo’ is nevertheless noticeably less bloody than its predecessor.  Alongside this the action and adrenaline-pumping plights of each character have also been reined in somewhat.

But it’s the inter-weaving of all the different story threads and plotlines that really makes the novel what it is.  Chapter by chapter the tale jumps from one character to the next, and only as the novel comes into the last third or so do they start to converge.

You don’t need to have already read ‘Apocalypse Cow’ (2012) to be able to follow and enjoy this sequel.  It’s independent enough from the original storyline to be read as a standalone novel.  However, characterisation is noticeably less involved in ‘World War Moo’, relying on what was already established within the first book.  As such, you will undoubtedly get a lot more out of the sequel having read the first book beforehand.

At the end of the day, although it’s slightly less maniacal and action-led than the first novel, ‘World War Moo’ is still a damn entertaining read.  There’s just so much going on in the book, so many characters, sub-plots and interwoven stories.  It really is pure entertainment from start to finish.

Those that enjoyed ‘Apocalypse Cow’ (2012) won’t be disappointed with this sequel.

The novel runs for a total of 309 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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