Okay, before we start anything I should just come out and say this is by far the best book I have read this year and I have a feeling other novels will be hard pressed to keep this from being the best book I get to read in 2015. I have read another of Lebbon's novels, an Alien based book called Out of Shadows
, which I reviewed here on SFReader and also enjoyed, but The Silence really took things up a notch and was just a superb novel.
In central Europe a cave is opened up that releases a creature that will later be known as the Vesps. These are meat eating bat like reptiles that hunt by sounds. They also reproduce at an alarming rate and their eggs hatch creatures that are already able to fly and kill. Soon all of Europe is being destroyed by these quickly multiplying beasts.
The thread of the story follows a small family as they attempt to struggle through the chaos as much of England flees north. Soon the Vesps are not the only thing to fear as humans begin to abuse one another as well.
The story if full of a brooding and building suspense that really pushes the reader to drive through the pages. Since I have so many books to review this almost never happens, but I found myself not wanting the book to end, it was that good.
On a personal note, my son was due to be born as I read this novel. As the family rushed north racing against the arrival of the vesps, I was racing to prepare for my son's birth at both at work and at home. The vesps arrival in the book happened right as my son was about to be born, it matched my nervous race to accomplish things well. We use horror as a way to put a face on our more mundane concerns and fears. Monsters equal unpaid bills etc. I found this dual race to accomplish goals very intense and appreciate the author for his hard work.
The book was well written and also a bit of a tear-jerker as well. And as I said, very intense. I think the vesps were just fantastic. In a genre like Horror it is very very hard to come up with new ideas, but Lebbon did it and knocked it out of the park. I rarely give 5 star reviews, (I think this might be my third) but this book is getting one.
Is there any downsides to this book? I wish it was longer. This is no sequel... That might be all I could think of.
If you like Horror or Apocalyptic novels, I would say rush out and grab this one. Seriously, it is a rare treat.
Michael D. Griffiths