Narrator: Tom Taylorson
Published by Blackstone Audio Inc on 26 July 2016
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
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A father and daughter try to survive the steady decline of all they know in this haunting thriller from award-winning author Ronald Malfi.
First the birds disappeared.
Then the insects took over.
Then the madness began.
They call it Wanderer's Folly - a disease of delusions, of daydreams and nightmares. A plague threatening to wipe out the human race.
After two years of creeping decay, David Arlen woke up one morning thinking that the worst was over. By midnight, he's bleeding and terrified, his wife is dead, and he's on the run in a stolen car with his eight-year-old daughter, who may be the key to a cure.
Ellie is a special girl - deep, insightful - and she knows David is lying to her. Lying about her mother. Lying about what they're running from. And lying about what he sees when he takes his eyes off the road.
©2016 Ronald Malfi (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
This story follows a father and daughter, David and Ellie Arlen, travelling across the country, trying to evade the authorities and infection from a new disease which is sweeping the nation. ‘Wanderer’s Folly’ is a disease which causes a bunch of hallucinations and ultimately death – no one knows how it started or how to treat it, causing widespread paranoia and fear.
Ellie is only 8 years old and may be the key to the cure but her father is scared about what that will mean for her future. She knows that she hasn’t been told the full truth about why they’re now on the road but she’s a very intuitive child and starts to piece the clues together.
This is very much a slow starter, the author withholds a lot of the story which he shares through a series of flashbacks along the way but we can’t be sure that everything is as it seems, after all the tagline of this book is ‘don’t believe everything you see’. The relationships between characters is what drives this story, particularly the father-daughter dynamic as time goes on and Ellie starts to figure out what’s going on.
Along the way, they meet other people who are surviving in this world overcome by disease and we get to see how people are coping with the world as it is now.
Truth be told, I was struggling a bit around the middle when I realised that there were another 6 hours to go and very little actually had actually happened beyond flashbacks and a lot of driving. A LOT of driving.
You might wonder in that case why I’ve given it 4 stars, and that’s because despite it being apparently dull… I never considered stopping and worked my way through to the end.
Tom Taylorson is a very effective narrator and keeps the story flowing. The only problem that I found is that his little girl voice was annoying – especially his ‘panicking little girl’ voice which felt like nails on a chalkboard to me. Thankfully Ellie’s a chilled out little girl so there wasn’t too much panicking on her part.
The description of this book does mention that all the birds have died and that the insect population has increased, even now I’m wondering if there’s something I missed. Yes, both of those facts are true in the course of this book but neither seem to affect the plot to any extent…. If anyone has any idea what the meaning behind it was… please let me know?
I would recommend this as an atmospheric road trip audiobook rather than something to sit and listen to while doing other things.
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