Page Count 394
Publication date Jan 2019/ Publisher Penguin
Price £1.99 Purchased From: Amazon Kindle (02/02/19)
BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.
Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.
Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.
As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?
Wow. This was unnerving. The concept of nuclear war obliterating our world as it currently stands was so easily conceivable and so carefully written that you could almost imagine this story unfolding in reality. There’s no specific names mentioned but the way Jameson writes about a certain someone being elected and it inevitably leading to the destruction of entire countries… you can make your own conclusions.
The story is broken into two specific dilemmas– how to go on living when the world you know has gone and the mystery of who murdered the girl at the hotel before the crisis began? I don’t think anybody has the correct answer to that first question and I promise you won’t guess the answer to the second.
The Last follows a journal written by main character Jon as he attempts to maintain a record of life after nuclear destruction. His is the POV for the majority, although there are interviews with other hotel guests and the addition of a background story written by Nathan.
I enjoyed the interaction between the hotel guests most in this book, the way their behaviour altered over the 3 months and how their allegiances and motives changed in response to each new threat. Setting The Last in a Swiss hotel meant that there were additional language barriers and cultural differences between the characters that created additional mistrust and unease, just as I imagine it would in a real world scenario.
There are a few suspicious characters within The Last, the hotel owner, most of the staff and definitely Sasha. One of them I felt could easily have been left out of the book but I shan’t tell you which, I wouldn’t want to waste a red herring!
The Last had a particularly strange ending – no spoilers. Whilst I didn’t dislike it, it was definitely unpredictable and somewhat tenuously linked to previous revelations. Be warned there is a lot of suicide in this tale- I mean, it’s the end of the world so you kinda got to expect that- but it’s not at all graphically detailed.
If you enjoy behavioural study or just treachery, secrets and a good fight for survival I’d definitely recommend this one.