How much would it take to tip the world over into chaos and superstition? Not a lot, if this excellent – and frightening – novel is to be believed...
One day four jets plummet out of the sky. Hundreds are killed, but four survivors crawl from the wreckage. One of them, Pamela May Donald, leaves a cryptic, ominous message before dying. The others – the titular “three” – are children, miraculously unharmed.
“Black Thursday”, as the event becomes known, is the biggest media sensation since 9/11. Preachers are convinced that it's a sign of the impending apocalypse and that the children are evil. Others blame aliens or the government. Journalist Elspeth Martins sets out to discover the truth...
The Three is global in scale – hopping between London, Japan and the States – and epic in ambition. The cast is equally diverse, but Lotz's decision to present the story as if it were a non-fiction book makes it easy to keep track of everyone. It also allows her to hop from genre to genre, mixing in political satire, supernatural horror and science fiction.
Comparisons could be made with the structure of World War Z , but this is an altogether more insidious work. You're presented with evidence and expected to put the pieces together yourself. Some may find that frustrating, but it's hard not to be ensnared by the book's many mysteries, and its overpowering sense of looming disaster.
Will Salmon twitter.com/evilrobotbill
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