The Culled, Simon Spurrier

Review by Karen Stevens

Five years ago, a strange new disease wiped out 97% of humanity. Now the remains of mankind are divided into savage territorial clans and lorded over by the Clergy, who rule their ragged empire with a rod of iron – any disobedience is swiftly crushed.

Amongst the ruins of London a man receives a signal from someone he thought dead and leaves for America, hoping to track down the source and maybe reclaim some of his old life. On the way other people are drawn into the mix – Nate, the semi-trained medic, beautiful mercenary Malice and Rick/Hiawatha, a Native American reluctantly performing a mission for his people. A volatile mix of characters that might just be capable of finding out the truth of this brave new world.

That was a vague synopsis, but saying much more would have meant giving away too much of the plot. And that would be a shame, because The Culled is a book well worth checking out.

Written in the first person (the main character is never named), The Culled is unflinchingly violent and fast moving – the story starts with a stolen plane making a crash landing in America and things rapidly descend from there.

I really enjoyed The Culled; this is post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest. The actual feel of a world gone to hell and the characters living within it are truly believable: this is an unapologetically violent, visceral world where life is extremely cheap.

If you find violence or bad language offensive, then you may not enjoy The Culled. If these sort of things don’t bother you, then I recommend this book: The Culled is a gritty, fast, all-guns-blazing novel, and is the perfect antidote to yet another po-faced fantasy trilogy or horror novel teeming with angst-ridden undead.

Abaddon Books, £6.99. This review originally appeared in Prism.