Release date: April 8, 2014
Published by: Titan Books
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Author Links: timlebbon.net
Coldbrook is a secret laboratory located deep in Appalachian Mountains. Its scientists had achieved the impossible: a gateway to a new world. Theirs was to be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, but they had no idea what they were about to unleash.
With their breakthrough comes disease and now it is out and ravaging the human population. The only hope is a cure and the only cure is genetic resistance: an uninfected person amongst the billions dead.
In the chaos of destruction there is only one person that can save the human race.
But will they find her in time?
Part horror. Part science fiction. All brilliant.
Lebbon puts a unique spin on the zombie apocalypse that has it standing apart from all the rest. Unlike what I would expect from other undead tales, it doesn't originate from a lab experiment gone wrong, a bite from an infected animal, or a new strain of the flu. Also, Lebbon's zombies aren't interested in brains. Their sole purpose is to pass the sickness on as quickly as possible.
The similarities that Coldbrook does share with other great zombie novels is the abundance of intense, terrifying, edge-of-your-seat moments. The deaths were nonstop and I had no idea who would be next. With one simple bite, any character I had grown fond of could transform into a dead-eyed monster eager to tear into the closest warm body.
The multiple characters' points of view was another highlight of this story. From Coldbrook's scientists to the immune woman who could be the key to saving humanity, they were all interesting and added their own unique perspectives to the beginning of the end of the world.
Another aspect of this novel that I found intriguing was the way that Lebbon weaves religion into the story. Two of the characters' beliefs are made well known from the beginning. One is an atheist whose beliefs are in facts and science. The other is a believer who doesn't doubt her faith despite the plague of zombies and the discovery of an entirely new world in a distant universe. There are also characters who appear later on in the story that have a very adverse reaction to the mention of religious figures. These parts of the story weren't preachy or overwhelming, it was just something that I personally found to be very interesting.
My only complaint with Coldbrook was how rapidly the disease spread to each continent. The symptoms were visible immediately after being bitten, so I was left wondering how a plane could take flight or a ship sail without knowing they were carrying someone who was infected. I suppose it's possible, I just had a hard time believing that it could spread to that many different locations around the globe quite so quickly.
Tim Lebbon's Coldbrook is a novel that any horror fan, especially those with an appreciation for the undead, will enjoy. I highly recommend it.