The Silence by Tim Lebbon – Book Review
Live on the Discovery Channel a team of scientists open up an ancient cave system in Moldova, keen to discover what new forms of life have been concealed within over the past millenia. Is it a bad idea, yes of course it is because what they unleash on the world are the vesps. They may be blind, but these bat-like creatures have an insatiable appetite for flesh homing in on anything that makes a sound and stripping it to the bone in seconds. What’s more they reproduce more rapidly than rabbits on fertility hormones..
Through TV and social media Ally and her family watch the vesps sweep across Europe devouring everyone in their path. Ally’s dad, Huw, decides to escape the oncoming horde by fleeing to his old family home in an isolated part of Scotland.You see when it comes to surviving the vesps, Ally’s family have a secret weapon, Ally is completely deaf, so all of the family can sign. However while that offers some degree of protection from the oncoming vesps, it doesn’t offer any protection from the breakdown of human society that coincides with the vesp’s arrival.
I devoured most of Lebbon’s 363 pages on a four-hour flight from Tenerife to Gatwick and to say it made the living hell of modern aviation bearable is an understatement. This is a great fast paced read that reminded me a lot of John Wyndham’s catastrophe novels from the 1950’s like The Day of the Triffids, where an overwhelming disaster is accompanied with a societal breakdown, only Lebbon has naturally a more contemporary and realistic attitude towards swearing and violence. I particularly liked the way Lebbon opened chapters with social media commentary to give us the macro view of what was going on in the wider world news context before diving back into the narrative of Ally’s family’s own microcosm.
An excellent read I give The silence a 666/666
The silence is published by Titan Books on 17 April price £7.99