In this post-apocalyptic fiction by Alden Bell, we are taken to America where the undead outnumber the living, and the world as we know it has been long since lost. We follow our protagonist, Moses Todd, and his ‘reprobate’ brother, Abraham, as they travel aimlessly; what else is there to do?
For Abraham, it is all he’s ever known, but not for Moses. Moses is older, and has memories of how the world once was. He isn’t content to just endlessly roam as Abe might be; he unconsciously searches for a purpose, a reason to keep going when at every turn he finds signs telling him to give up. He finds this purpose in a chance encounter with the Vestal Amata, a mysterious woman who has no effect on the undead. Their indifference towards her intrigues Moses; what is it about her that repels the zombies? Does she hold the key to salvation?
However, such a gift has not gone unnoticed, and other are already seeking this woman for their own gain. And so a task presents itself to Moses; keep the women out of the clutches of unsavory characters, and take her to safety for further examination of her ‘gift’. And our journey begins…
I have never read anything by Alden Bell before, so this was my first taste, and how addictive it was! From the first chapter I realised I had come across another author that I would have to add to my favourite list. And everything about his writing would usually put me off; there are few books I dislike more than one without clear grammar and punctuation, and Exit Kingdom has no speech marks. However, this is actually not a distraction from the story at all. In fact, I quite liked it.
The character’s of Moses and Abraham are rough and ready types you would expect to get on well in such a post-apocalyptic world such as this, and they do so with humour and some (okay, quite a bit of) violence. Moses is always watching over Abe, and as the older brother, always has done. The setting is as you would imagine, and if you like The Walking Dead, then this is the kind of fiction you will enjoy. It is a relatively quick and easy read, which only makes you want more from Bell. I have already recommended it to a few friends, and will continue to do so; Exit Kingdom is an excellent book, and satisfied my hunger for a change in my recent reading material.
Although I have read Exit Kingdom as a standalone book, there is actually one set before it; The Reapers Are the Angles. It features characters that play a big part in Exit Kingdom and I sincerely hope to read it soon. Any book set in Bell’s undead world is a book that I am eager to read.