Review - Year Zero by Jeff Long

Year Zero - Jeff Long

I think I read a different book to the one that was advertised on the back cover blurb. The book sounded really interesting and a bit different to most other 'end of the world' scenarios I've read but mostly it's just not that gripping once you get into it. It's a steady story which kept me turning pages - but only to try and get to the tale that was promised.  I don't usually add a synopsis in my reviews but I'm going to break with tradition here so that you know what the story wasn't about.

 

"An archaeological manhunt is raging in the holy land -- a hunt for the historical Jesus. 

 

On the remote Greek island of Corfu, a wealthy collector pries open his latest black-market purchase -- a fourteen-inch holy relic containing a vial of blood dating back to the first century -- and unleashes a two-thousand-year-old plague. As the pandemic explodes from the Mediterranean basin and threatens to devour humankind, Nathan Lee gets a chance at redemption. He embarks on an Odyssean journey back to the United States to find his family.

 

Skirting the edges of the world, Nathan Lee's path finally leads him to New Mexico, where the greatest minds of science have converged at Los Alamos to find a vaccine. There Nathan Lee meets Miranda Abbot, a nineteen-year-old prodigy. As the cure continues to elude them, Miranda launches a desperate final strategy: the use of human lab rats cloned from the year zero. Nathan Lee, the thief of bones, comes face-to-face with men made from the very relics he looted, one of whom claims to be Jesus Christ, but may also be Patient Zero."

 

Sounded good to me and the first few chapters were really promising but very quickly I lost interest in the main character, which isn't really what you're looking for in a book.

 

My indifference to Nathan Lee (for some reason even his name grates on me) meant that I never really got involved with his struggles and/or experiences.
There are also a few characters we meet and I'm still not sure why or how they figure in the story. They're given fairly large chunks of storyline but if they were removed I can't say that it would take much away from the tale.

It's not the worst book I've ever read, but I'm a bit disappointed that the fabulous story I was looking forward to wasn't forthcoming. I think that if I wasn't misled into looking for a story that wasn't there, then I might have got involved more. Before I knew it I was at the end and left wondering if I'd missed a chapter or 3. The conclusion when it comes seems so rushed that I had to go back and re-read the last few chapters because I was sure I'd missed a crucial pivotal moment. I hadn't....and there wasn't...

It's a bit of a mish-mash of ideas going on actually and not all of it gel's when thrown together into a single story. The worst part is the the virus itself, which the book revolves around....it's just madness.

For fans of apocalyptic plague fiction though, give it a whirl....just don't expect what's written on the back cover.

It's not a book I'd go back to, but since it belongs to a genre that I'm very fond of, I'm glad I read it.