Richard Maynard: The Quiet Place. A jpoc book review.

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JPOC Rating

Six out of ten.

I give this a recommendation as a good, if not great book.

My review

This is very much an "English" SF novel. Set in a future, post apocalypse, Europe, it follows the fortunes of a group of astronauts who have left Earth expecting to return a few years later but, due to a miscalculation in time dilation, they arrive many years later than they expected. They discover that the world has changed greatly and not for the better. Due to some cataclysmic event, civilisation, the whole world over appears to have gone back to an era thousands of years more primative than the world that they left behind.

The travellers attempt to bring some semblance of order and civilisation to a world that is a mixture of primitive savagery and old artifacts. Returning to England, through a derelict channel tunnel, they attempt to form and civilise a community. Can they succeed and turn their new found followers into a reborn civilisation of will they just be a glitch on a downward spiral?

This book takes a bleak and deeply pessimistic view of the human spirit. It is not a comfortable read but it is well written and it makes an interesting tale. Parts are rather weak and too "off pat" to be convincing and this diminishes the ultimate impact of what would otherwise be one of the most upsetting future histories that I have read.

The author's rather flacid logic for the fall of civilisation is the worst part of the book. It would have been a better story if he had not felt the need to address this issue which is not central to the main story line.