In the best style of a zombie apocalypse, The Proxima Plague by Robert Thornton constructed a story worth reading multiple times as it hits close to home with their human-made virus.
Hope Allerd, a brilliant scientist and the head of a scientific company, has to confront her biggest challenge yet. As if being a CEO and woman of color at the head of the company is not challenging enough, Allerd became the only person with a clue on what is bringing this plague onto humanity and probably the only one who knows how to stop it before monsters wipe out the human race.
The story starts with many questions that leave the readers pushing forward to understand better what is transpiring in this alternate world. Peppered with gender and racial violence against the main character, the readers can either see these events as a commentary on social and gender equity or as a forceful attempt to bring up the “strong” female lead who is unresponsive to the constant and brutal attacks of a white-male-dominated work environment. However, regardless of the intention of these passages, Robert Thornton creates the perfect setting for Hope to succeed in her mission of proving everybody wrong.
As the story progresses and mysteries become less convoluted, the plot twists start to happen. The novel evolves by turning its back to the obvious and eliminating all similarities with reality, becoming more of a coincidence than a plot driver. However, just as in classics like Dracula, that uncanny feeling of familiarity with what the world is at the moment, in this case, COVID19 and the multiple variants of the virus, strengthens the uneasiness of the lingering dangers that might doom us all. On the contrary effect, The Proxima Plague happens so fast and with little push back from the authorities. Airports in chaos, families fleeting, health-personal dying, or monsters roaming the streets are events to fear, but still, the scientists’ community laugh at Hope, the main character, for her theories and proposal to save the world. On top of that, the eerie and ominous feeling of doom seems to come more from the reader and their familiarity with the COVID19 pandemic rather than from the novel itself even when Thornton crafts magnificent scenes of action, spiders like a monster, dark places, vanishing threats, and cliffhangers.
Overall, The Proxima Plague, the fourth book under Robert Thornton’s bell, defends itself against giants who have written about the end of the world as World War Z and The Atlantis Gene. Well written with an impressive mastery over medicine and science, Thornton adds funny punches to his novel making it a must-read for everybody who is into thrillers, paranormal, and the end of the world. The plot does not feel forced. The characters’ dynamics are healthy, and their speech has a natural feeling that not everybody has managed to master.
The Proxima Plague: the novel that we should all read and hope for it to stay in the fictional part of the shelves.
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