The Fall by Robert Duperre
Illustrated by Jesse David Young
Trade Paperback, 337 pages
A debut novel by Robert J. Duperre, The Fall is the first book of a projected four part series called The Rift.
During the exploration of a hidden Mayan cave, an ancient curse is released. It takes the form of a virus—diagnosed as ‘rodent ‘flu’, but its effect on those infected is more devastating than anything seen before. Insanity, cannibalism, death; all are symptomatic of this ‘flu. There’s panic, and anarchy, and civilisation is on the brink of collapse.
It’s set against this backdrop that Duperre tells the story of Josh and Kyra, who, together with a raft of lesser characters, are forced to fight for their survival, against their own personal demons as well as those quite literally set against them by the rodent ‘flu.
There’s powerful writing here. Duperre doesn’t shun away from the hack-and-slash when it’s needed, but The Fall is much more than a horror flick. His characters are torn inside as well, and such internal angst adds depth and realism where some horror novels seem to rely upon shock alone. Josh must kill his beloved sister, for example, when she is struck down with the virus, and Duperre has him do so with restraint and poise and humanity, despite the fact that Josh has witnessed the horrors this same sister in her insanity has levied upon their parents. There are internalised debates, too—how much would you save others in such a situation as this, and how much do you save yourself?
Add to this that there’s a surreal thread building; that there’s a gathering force of evil; that the dead will walk; that Josh is visited by a vague-talking, ethereal woman who we can perhaps guess is some balancing force of good; that between them we have hints that Josh is more than he perceives himself to be, and it’s clear the Fall has a nice balance of intrigue to keep things moving along into subsequent volumes.
In this opening to the series, the seriousness of the situation is gradually expressed and increased. The book ends with the decision to leave, and we are left waiting for the next instalment to see what and to where this journey will lead.
With the added bonus of some excellent illustration, this is a strong opening to the series indeed.
Visit The Rift Online here
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