Graham's Reviews > The Quick and the Dead

The Quick and the Dead by Matthew John Lee
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Nov 29, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in August, 2008 , read count: 1

This literary novel explores what would happen if a successful terrorist attack on Great Britain managed to wipe out the entire population. The story is told from the points of view of three expatriates, currently residing in varying locations around the world, as they witness the aftermath of the attack and struggle to come to terms with the meanings of their lives. The central concept of The Quick and the Dead is a timely one and it raises intriguing questions.

The problem is that the author lacks a central narrative to tie it all together and the resultant book feels like a novel in search of a story. Due to the unconventional structure of the book, we don’t even find out about the actual attack until halfway through the story. The book is essentially a series of ruminations on life, love, politics and religion told through the viewpoints of rather uninteresting characters, whose sex lives seem more important than anything else.

Pages and pages of description, unrelated to the story, really weigh the story down and make it feel like more of a travelogue than a work of narrative fiction. Descriptions of Dover Castle and a Dickens exhibition have nothing to do with what’s going on and as a result the story lacks any real ‘meat’. The preachy nature of the novel, in its calls for tolerance, is another turn off. Unfortunately, due to its numerous flaws, The Quick and the Dead is a book that’s difficult to enjoy.

This review was first published in The Self-Publishing Magazine.
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