The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.
Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts, and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.
Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.
Aside from the fact that Rhiannon Frater is already known for her amazing As the World Dies post-apoocalyptic zombie-filled series (as well as for her dark urban fantasy books), just the premise of this book sounds so promising that it will most certainly be a topping many a "Best Of" list by year's end. What really draws me specifically is what looks like a well-developed, complex futuristic world. It's got order (the Bastion and its Vanguards) amongst chaos (the Inferi Scourge). It's got intense character relationships (Maria and Dwayne). It's got allusions to an epic adventure (the mission given to Maria by the Science Warfare Division). And best of all, it's got zombies. ^_^ I'm a HUGE fan of dystopians...when done right. I'm talking Brave New World right. Aftertime right. Feed right. As the World Dies right. ^_^ And this one has as much promise as any of those to be a wild ride.
The cover, in a word, is amazing. Visually striking even with the muted colors--perhaps even because of the sedate color scheme. The woman (warrior!) on the cover alludes to darkness, boldness, and lethal ability. The murky clouds in the background appear animated with menace and threat. This cover is definitely not easily ignored. The cover artist is Claudia McKinney; bravo to you, ma'am! (As well as to the typographer, Ashley of Bookish Brunette Designs. Perfectly fits the sharp, futuristic feel of the book description).
The Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel by Rhiannon Frater will be released on June 12, 2012.