by David Fletcher
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 7 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 10 Aug 2021
Matador, Troubador Publishing
Alex and Debbie’s first voyage to the Antarctic looked to be plain sailing in every sense. The sea and the weather were both perfect for their passage to the Falklands and then South Georgia, and the forecast for their onward journey looked equally benign.
Then the news began to trickle through that something was amiss in China. Soon the news was much worse. On the other side of the world a calamity was overtaking the human race and whatever had started in China was now rapidly racing across the whole of Asia, scything down millions in its path.
There seemed to be nothing to stop it. It seemed impossible that the virus would not eventually arrive on the MS Sea Sprite. Was there anything they could do to avoid their dismal fate? Was there anywhere they could hide from the inevitable onslaught? Could they survive? Or would they simply be amongst the very last to succumb?’
A Note From the Publisher
Average rating from 14 members
I wish to express my gratitude to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing UK for the compelling adventure 'Survival' by David Fletcher. This was a pulse-pounding, thrilling, character-driven book that vividly described its dazzling environment. It combined suspense, terror, humour, and information in one well-written and researched book. I was pleased how vividly the author accurately depicted the environmental beauty, the variety of mammals and birds and enriched the story with historical facts. An underlying theme is the destruction that humanity has wrought upon our environment and with the endangerment and extinction of other forms of life. By googling pictures of the sites, readers can add to their enjoyment. The MS Sea Sprite is carrying approximately 90 wildlife enthusiasts on an Antarctic expedition. These passengers are predominately elderly but in great physical shape. I made a similar voyage about 25 years ago, but without the luxury and amenities, and the passengers ranged from the young and active to the old and feeble. Alex and Debbie are an elderly couple anxious to view the scenic beauty and explore the Antarctic bird and mammal life. Alex chooses his dinner companions carefully, ensuring their meals are with compatible, like-minded companions. There is much thought-provoking banter between Alex and his two elderly male table guests, a 'know-it-all' and a 'walking encyclopedia.' Their conversations are wickedly appalling and amusing, most never politically correct. Meanwhile, a British intelligence officer, Stuart, is monitoring news reports at his recent post at the military base in the Falkland Islands. He is very bored and had been hoping for an exciting transfer to the Far East or the Caribbean, but instead ended up in this desolate part of the world. The news is always the same; trouble in the Middle East, hostilities in Syria, sabre-rattling by Putin, and absurd tweets by Trump. Something new is added. There is a flu in China which authorities say is under control. Then following skirmishes along the borders, nothing further is heard from China. It seems to have been obliterated from the world. Wild rumours and speculation are everywhere. As Stuart grows increasingly alarmed, he and a female worker steal a Top Secret document from the military base. They learn of the calamity facing the world's people, and whatever started in China is rapidly spreading, causing death in its path. The desert by stealing a yacht from the base and head south into turbulent waters. Their vessel is wrecked, and those on the Sea Sprite rescue them. Once onboard, they inform the captain of the horror they have learned. The captain decides to head towards the Antarctic Peninsula for safety and sanctuary. They encounter hostility and danger from a few others along the way. Can they hope to escape and survive the plague, or are they all doomed? I have posted my review on Goodreads and Amazon. Highly recommended!
I could not stand the arrogant 2 main characters , although having been on cruises I can believe they are based on real people ,their perceived superiority was palpable, The author writes wonderfully re the animals/ birdlife they see and the natural environment and the actual descriptions of the ship and ship life are spot on ,there is drama,tension and excitement in the story and overall it is a well written story that although topical/current may be a bit too current for some The research and effort gone into the book is applaudable
When you plan a luxury nature cruise to Antartica, survival is not the first thing on your mind. This is a dream trip for Alex and Debbie who have spent most of their retirement traveling the world on similar cruises. But this one will be very different. The first few days are uneventful. Alex and Debbie become friends with other passengers, take a few planned trips to the Falkland Islands and listen to lectures on history, plants and sea life. Then sporadic news bulletins begin to filter in. There is a virus, probably from China, that is causing near instant death. No one is immune. They listen in horror as it spreads quickly from country to country. What can they do to survive? And will they? Survival, a character driven thriller, is well plotted and simply terrifying because it is so real. I especially enjoyed the lectures and information shared by different characters. Did you know that starlings were introduced to Central Park by Shakespeare enthusiasts? Which two countries have an albatross on their flags? Or the differences between the Gentoo and Macaroni penguins? These facts are interspersed thoroughout Survival so your pulse can return to normal. The only criticism I have is that Alex and friends are overly pompous know-it-alls. It’s hard to identify with a lead character with his personality. 5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley, Troubador Publishing and David Fletcher for this ARC.
The book strikes a chord that makes it very believable. Interesting book about what could happen. I enjoyed the book.
Sea Voyage Goes Awry… A sea voyage to the Antarctic goes badly awry for those on MS Sea Sprite for whom survival had been the furthest thing from their minds on embarking. The main protagonists, Alex and Debbie, are hard to like but certainly are appreciative of the nature that surrounds them. With vivid and often beautiful description, a very readable and engaging suspense which keeps the readers interest throughout.
The author states it was written before the pandemic. Although the disease is not quite the same, its effects are equally earth-shattering and world changing as Coronavirus. I was attracted to the novel because the setting is Antarctica - and the descriptions evoke its rugged beauty and isolation. But this is not a cruise I would wish to undertake; and definitely not with the main protagonists. Events happen in China which closes itself down but not before something crosses the borders. An interesting, but very unsettling novel. With thanks to NetGalley and Matador for an ARC.
I’ve never delayed a review as much as this one - unusually for me, I’m finding it difficult to put into words my thoughts on it. From the outset, the premise seemed perfect for me. Plague sweeping the world (living it) + Antarctica (long time Antarctiphile, one time visitor here). The positives - the threat to humanity (spores blown in the wind) is an interesting one, and certainly an interesting and effective way of spreading a deadly menace (more so than we’re doing with our handling of a virus). The action in the second part - it’s a slow burn book - and the interesting (for me) to and fro on the ship in regards to what to do when you’re likely the last people on Earth, the threat of mutinous action on the ship, the reprovisioning attempts, the meeting of pockets of others; all were thought provoking ‘what-ifs’ for me. As an armchair travel guide, it closely marks my trip to the Faulklands/Malvinas - depending upon your conversation partner, and the other outer islands on the way to the Antarctic peninsula (including a very accurate description of the groaning table of morning tea at West Island), the wildlife, the scenery…it all provoked memories for me of a very enjoyable and much looked forward to trip in 2019 (hands up who remembers travel?), and the writer certainly delivered so that any non-penguin could picture it easily and vividly, and any penguin could reminisce happily, and perhaps drag the photos out again. However (and here it is) - Alex and Debbie. If you haven’t cruised before, you’d likely be unfamiliar with the type. They are the ship equivalent of the caricature of the Germans putting towel on the sunbed. They had virtually no redeeming qualities short of a respect for wildlife, they seemed insular and self-absorbed, and given the many instances of their selectiveness and snobbery around their companions, I’m happy to report that I would not have made the cut, which would only have enhanced for me this theoretical holiday I’m on with them. Despite the world falling apart, they had not much care for anyone else - I’m the first one to say I’m not a people person, but even I’d have a moment of true sadness for…my children, my friends, my old school mates, work mates, that old guy with the old dog who walks every morning and always greets me when I’m trying to control my rabble canines.. In a few instances the writing seemed a bit borderline racist - ‘Alex, what if I were to say that when I walked through Shrewsbury, I sometimes felt I was in Warsaw and not in my local county town? What if I were to say that when I switched on the telly, I’d have to tell myself that I hadn’t been whisked off to India or South Africa? And what if I were to say that when I visited London, I would have to try to convince myself that I was still in the capital of England and not in one of Heathrow’s international terminals?’ Perhaps that is the scenery and opinions of the Brexit Mob, but surely, not in a book? Then there’s ‘Sarah, a youngish women with an admirable body but a less-than-admirable demeanour’. It’s 2021. I’m only grateful that a description of her admirable body wasn’t included. Maybe Sarah knew what was being written about her and that affected her demeanour? ‘He started with all those monsters who used to harvest bile from caged bears, and then reeled off a whole list of other monsters…’ The Chinese come in for a right caning in the book - and yes, current events and all that, probably a few historical events as well, but obviously not written with an eye to conquering the Asian market. So there we are. All the words I’d been accumulating in my head put to screen. Go for it if you wish, if only for the armchair tourism.
I'll admit this book took me a while to read. At times I got so lost in the beauty that the author described with absolute honesty. The descriptions were such that if you close your eyes you could actually be there. He also includes a lot of historical facts which I'll admit are kind of amazing. The down side unfortunately is the characters. Alex and Debbie are retired and travelling the world. They come across as arrogant no it alls. Always having opinions about other people, often wrongly. They are the kind of people who I would go out of my way to avoid. There superiority complex astounded me just in the first few pages on how they dismissed people with nothing more than a look. They also came across as self absorbed. Even in survival mode they were superior or so they thought. I'll admit they put a downer on the book. I know this sounds cold but I wouldn't have been upset if they caught the virus. But as I mentioned earlier the scenery, the animals and everything in nature was absolutly fabulous. That is why I gave the book four stars. If it were just on the characters they would get minus one. Enjoy! I hope!