The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray
Penguin Random House: 2/4/20
eBook review copy; 384 pages
The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray is a recommended dystopian thriller set in 2059.
The earth has stopped rotating, leaving half the world in perpetual
light and the other in darkness. Great Britain is lucky enough to be in a
narrow habitable region and is now a totalitarian nation with closed
borders. A small section of land has been given to the United States for
colonization. Ellen Hopper is a scientist living on a rig in the
Atlantic, studying ocean currents. When two government officials come to
the rig via helicopter she is basically forced to go back to London to
visit the bedside of her dying former Oxford mentor, Edward Thorne. He
has a secret he has been keeping and government officials are sure he
will tell her where to find the information they seek.
Ellen knows a secret about Thorne's past, which she keeps to herself,
but she doesn't know the secret information the government seeks. They
hope Thorne will tell her. What happens is that she secretly sends
herself on the mission to try and figure out the truth, his secret, on
her own, following clues and leads as she uncovers them. She is being
watched and followed, beaten up and interrogated, yet still managing to
stay one step ahead of the officials who want to destroy the information
Thorne has hidden away.
The writing is good and the short chapters keep the plot moving along
swiftly in this very changed world. The characters are compelling and
interesting. The dystopian world will interest science fiction fans, but
the plot requires setting disbelief aside in order to enjoy the mystery
of Ellen's search. Her search makes this more of an espionage thriller,
where the setting
makes the search more interesting, but you have to believe she could
what others could not find. The ending leaves room open for a sequel.
One niggling concern in involving the reader's investment in the plot
is that the science behind the slow down and stop wasn't presented
until a bit later in the story when it should have been explained
earlier. I found myself wanting the explanation behind it long before it
was given. The second is the search by Ellen herself, which requires
you to believe that the nefarious government officials wouldn't have
thought of what she does and couldn't find out the information without
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.