Publisher: The Borough Press (21st April 2016)

3/5*

When I requested this book on Netgalley a while back I really thought it was one I was going to thoroughly enjoy, but I have to say that it didn’t grip me as much as I thought it would. I can’t really put my finger on why though.

The story is told from the point of view of eight year old Rona who is one of five children who have been left on a remote Scottish Island to fend for themselves after a mysterious outbreak which seems to have killed almost everyone. There is also Elizabeth, who has been their leader since the last adult died, six year old Alex and the MacNeil brothers, Duncan and Calum Ian.

We follow the children as they battle to survive. They have no choice but to raid the empty houses for food and supplies, although not all are empty as they often come across dead people, dogs and cats. To add to their horror, Alex is diabetic and running out of insulin. What do they do when they run out? When they realise no-one is coming to rescue them they have no choice but to try to get themselves to the mainland. Unfortunately things don’t go to plan.

This is a heart-breaking story, but one which didn’t flow well for me. I wish I could say I loved it, but it lacked something for me. I’m just not sure what exactly. I’ll be interested to see what others think of it as it may just be me. I’m sure other readers will love it. I wish the author and publisher every success with it.

Many thanks to the author and publisher for approving my request via Netgalley.

Description (Amazon UK):

‘A story about the strength and fragility of human nature.
Rob Ewing’s writing is powerful, compassionate and brilliant.
I absolutely loved it’ JOANNA CANNON, the author
of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP

‘Bleak, beautiful, gripping’ IAN RANKIN, on Twitter

The island is quiet now.

On a remote Scottish island, five children are the only ones left. Since the Last Adult died, sensible Elizabeth has been the group leader, testing for a radio signal, playing teacher and keeping an eye on Alex, the littlest, whose insulin can only last so long.

There is ‘shopping’ to do in the houses they haven’t yet searched and wrong smells to avoid. For eight-year-old Rona each day brings fresh hope that someone will come back for them, tempered by the reality of their dwindling supplies.

With no adults to rebel against, squabbles threaten the fragile family they have formed. And when brothers Calum Ian and Duncan attempt to thwart Elizabeth’s leadership, it prompts a chain of events that will endanger Alex’s life and test them all in unimaginable ways.

Reminiscent of The Lord of the Flies and The Cement Garden, The Last of Us is a powerful and heartbreaking novel of aftershock, courage and survival.

The Last Of Us will be published on 21st April 2016. You can pre-order your copy HERE

About the Author

Rob Ewing is a GP who spent several years living on a small island off the Scottish coast (with more than five other people). His poetry and short fiction have been published by New Writing UK, New Writing Scotland, and performed on BBC Radio. The Last of Us is his first novel.

 

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