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The Curse

(After the End #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Who Can Defy The Curse?

It’s been thirty years since the End War destroyed civilization.

Now a terrible curse hangs over the survivors, one that’s pushing humanity's leftovers towards a slow and painful extinction.


A group of women, known as ‘The Complex’, have banded together to rebuild and survive in the heart of New York.

Despite the odds, these women aren't g

Kindle Edition, 187 pages
Published December 19th 2018
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  133 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Kirsten McKenzie
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mark Gillespie is the king of dystopian fiction.

The Curse had me second guessing every move made by the characters, and none of my guesses were correct. A breathless ride through the post apocalyptic city of New York with an incredible female protagonist and a shady cast of co-conspirators. And a dog. Every great story needs a dog. Just ask John Wick.

Cannot wait to read the second instalment in this series.

Given the vastness of the landscape in New York City, Mark Gillespie has written a tight n
This book had me hooked from the beginning. The line of women, the man on the horse, approaching the complex that, except for the lack of men, did hold mankind’s future and the Helen of Troy, awaiting in her suite for the one man who will break the curse.

War had scorched the earth. Very little was left. Men roamed the country, not really knowing what they want, but taking what they can. The Ambassadors from New York are offering the most tempting of temptation, a beautiful woman, willing to be i
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I do like a dystopian novel and this didn’t disappoint. The story unravels slowly at the outset - There has been a war to end all wars and few survivors remain, we are with a group of women surviving on their own without men, well no men to really speak of.

It takes a while to work out what the curse is - it sounds awful and mysterious, but then it is supposed to - this is not a happy book, this is horror/science fiction and the more you read the darker and more intriguing it gets.

Our protagoni
Noelle Brighton
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Amazing story that I really enjoyed. I will be reading more by this author!
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
I don't think I stopped to breathe while reading this engrossing post-apocalyptic, Dystopian, horror. Certainly the suspenseful tension was constantly high as we explore Manhattan decades after the "End War," populated only by a highly organized society of women. Ambassadors trek across what remains of America to find living males to bring to Manhattan for breeding purposes, to try to eventually restore civilization and continue the human race.

Young Eda is a loner, a voracious reader, an adventu
Allyn Nichols
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent read, children of men meets the handmaid's tale in a dark and ruthless tale of lies, deception and hidden revenge. Well built protagonist and major players. Gripping from beginning to end. ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It grabbed me and I couldn't figure out where we were going. Looking forward to next book in series ...more
JJ Parus
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
No Spoilers
I just finished reading “The Curse.” It would have been in one non-stop session if I didn’t have a prior commitment to attend. Gillespie weaves a dystopian tale about a deadly curse that has struck the world following the wars of devastation. An isolated community of women are surviving in the remains of NYC, and have sent ambassadors out into the wastelands to try to find men. They are invited back to mate with the most beautiful woman in the world, but warned that there is a curse t
Owen Norris
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Well worth a read

The Curse is a really well-written post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel that's definitely worth having a look at it. The obvious parallels to the now incredibly popular "A Handmaid's Tale" can't be ignored, with the curse revolving around humankind's inability to procreate and seemingly inevitable spiral into chaos and extinction. However, this comes as somewhat of a counterpoint to Ms Atwood's work, with a strong enclave of women in control of what may very well be the last bastion of
Victoria Pinto Rivas
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author send me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review will be free of spoilers (or will have few; you'll see it).

I have to say that this book was a huge surprise for me, and I have to give credit to Gillespie for that because the plot itself has some twists I never expected to. Those twists gave the book more dinamism that I expected to find in a book of this genre, and also facilitate the reading by making you think what would happen to the main characters.

Now, there are d
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Who Can Defy The Curse?It's been thirty years since the End War destroyed civilization as we know it.
Now a terrible curse hangs over the survivors, one that's pushing them towards a slow and painful extinction.
A group of women, known as 'The Complex', have banded together to rebuild and survive in the heart of New York.
Despite the odds, these women aren't going down without a fight. Organized and resourceful, they've set out to rebuild the human race no matter what the cost.
But can it b
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
This quite short book had an intriguing premise and was well told. The plot was unusual - it's about a group of women living in the centre of Manhattan, New York, years after the apocalypse has eliminated most of the human population. The main character is Eda, one of the youngest in the group (early 30s I believe although it was not specified) and we are told that reproduction is almost impossible for a very peculiar reason - The Curse. I won't give the plot away except to say that it seemed a ...more
Joan Barstad
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mark Gillespie must have some really weird dream! The stories he writes hit you from left field.

I put the other book down that I had been reading as soon as I saw another Gillespie book...wouldn't want to miss any. This one is short and sweet..well...short, anyway.

It just takes a few hours to read, but, it's a couple of interesting hours.

Mark puts a new slant on an apocalyptic world'

Now, I have to wait til the next one comes out. You can bet I will be waiting for it.

Jean-Charles Garaud
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An unusual Dystopian. "The Curse" is not what I was expecting, based on former Dystopian read and perhaps also on personal beliefs. A war has destroyed the American way of life, if not the USA, human males seem to have disappeared and thus have become a rare specie at least in the woman community of Manhattan. Striving to survive or even ensure a new start for human race, these women seem to have a totally genuine interest in recreating a human society.... But is it really so, are their intentio ...more
David Taylor
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very original dystopian story set in a New York run and ruled by women. Mr. Gillespie has woven numerous twists and turns into this action-packed story that centers around one young woman. In the interest of not providing any spoilers let me just say if you enjoy dystopian stories, this is a must read, and my hope is there will be further stories in the future based on this group of characters. I received an Advance Reader Copy and have chosen to provide this review.
Bronwyn Kotze
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A post-apocalyptic New York run entirely by women....what could go wrong? Welcome to a new world where nothing is as it seems.
Margaret Atwood would be proud!
Mark Gillespie seems to channel the best of Stephen King and now Atwood- both masters of their craft. His books grab you from the opening sentence and don't let go until the end. The Curse is brilliantly written. As with all his books it is highly recommended.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The world is destroyed. Not many survived. New York is ruled by women who want to build a new America. To find men who are able to spend their semen for Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman alive they send out ambassadors to find the special one. The one who's worthy and can defeat the curse. A curse that kills every unworthy one.
The book's an interesting description of a post-apocalyptic NY ruled by woman til you get to the middle and learn what the 'curse' is. Then it explodes....
Michael Murphy
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book and am voluntarily posting this review.

Mark’s writing always contains strong characters and a great story. I was pulled into the story at once and had to read it in one sitting because I could not put it down. The story has many twists and I hope it has a sequel, because I’d certainly like to follow a few of the strong characters. Do yourself a favor – get this book!
Phillip Clark
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, e-book, apoc
This was actually my favourite story from Mark, literally couldn't put it down, smashed it out in one go. Plenty of believable twists, right up to the end. This story reminded me of 'Wool' by Hugh Howey, people trapped by stories and beliefs, I thinks fans of those stories will thoroughly enjoy this story. ...more
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good yarn.

Mostly a short book moved forward through plot and action. Other than the main character, not a lot of development, the side characters are pretty one dimensional. Comes to a satisfactory conclusion, but you will most likely want to read of the further adventures in the next book. Several satisfying twists in this story.
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. There was suspense, horror, turns of events in this post apocalyptic story. Eda, the main character, knew she didn't belong. Unlike everyone else, she kept her humanity and cared about people. She had a strong will and was intuitive. ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it

A good story, a likeable heroine and a German Shepherd!

I try to write my options of books without discussing the book because I don’t want to know much about a book beyond the synopsis before I read it, but this was an interesting unusual story. On to the sequel!
Elisa L Mendoza
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Slow Going but Satisfying

Took a bit to get into but by the end I was invested! Love the lead and ideas expressed. Give it a chance and you may get hooked. I'll be reading the next one to see where it leads.
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This turned out to be a really good original book. A tribe of women seeking a man to make Helen of Troy have a baby. It is original plot and has a good twist. The writing was excellent and the main characters were fleshed out nicely. It turned out to be a really good read.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A different end of the world story. After a war where most everywhere is a Eastland a group of women gather together in what is left of New York to live as best they can.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I liked this story, good ideas, well written & looking forward to the next installment!
Debbi Smith
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A New York run by women? That's an idea I could get behind. A new take a
on post-apocalyptic horror..
john blough
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great post apocalyptic thriller

A great post apocalyptic story that takes place in New York city. Has lots of plot twists and includes a dog so how can you go wrong.
Pleasure Your Shelf
May 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
The premise had promise, but the writing was quite crude.
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it
liked it. atypical in the dystopian genre. might surprise.
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Mark Gillespie writes Post-Apocalyptic, Horror and Dystopian fiction.

He's the author of The Exterminators Trilogy ('suspenseful, gut-wrenching, thought-provoking') as well as The Future of London series (a 'masterfully written' dystopian saga in which an alternate London has been cut off from the rest of civilisation).

Mark is a former musician from Glasgow, Scotland, who nowadays lives in Austral

Other books in the series

After the End (3 books)
  • The Sinners (After the End Trilogy #2)
  • The End War (After the End, #3)

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