Book Review – Reaper’s Run (A Plague Wars Novel) by David Vandyke with Ryan King

First published, 2013

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows Jill “Reaper” Repeth, a double amputee and serving member of the US Marine Corps, as the world is struck by a shocking plague. But where most plagues cause pain, pustules and rancid, choking death, this airborne infection brings perfect mental, physical and emotional health, as well as surprising longevity. It doesn’t change people’s personalities, but the illness does seem to make the afflicted kinder to others. But with people being more thoughtful and generally well, naturally, the authorities want the thing stamped out as quickly as possible. There’s no profit in healthy people who can’t be manipulated or frightened.

As the government launches nuclear attack on its own citizens, and martial law makes the ordinary folk suspicious of their plague-ridden brethren (known as Sickos), Jill makes her way from one side of the tattered USA to the other, hoping against hope that her family has survived the attack on LA, all the while, eating a vast amount and regrowing her feet.

But in a nation split between us and them, with dangerous truckers and intriguing mountain-folk, can Jill make it back to Los Angeles? And will anyone be waiting for her if she makes it?

A great, action-packed, military-led story; the characterisations were fresh and powerful, and there were several moments when my mouth actually fell open in surprise. The imagery was startling and I really enjoyed the character of Python, a longterm, in-and-out prison inmate, lumped in with the afflicted to get him out of a system that’s had enough of him.

A really good story that I’m bound to think about for a long time to come. Well worth a read.