Famine is a word that most of us think of when we hear of a massive draught and crops dying. It’s a lack of food production that leads to the death of hundreds, if not thousands of people. It’s a word that often is used when talking about South Africa, although some history buffs will remember the 19th century potato famine in Ireland. This historic famine caused many to leave their homeland, or die.
There is another version of Famine that many may not immediately think of when they hear the word. It is fortunate than that there are authors like, Monica Enderle Pierce, out there. She will introduce us all to the black rider, the bringer of death and destruction, the rumored third member of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Monica Enderle Pierce is the author of the book, Famine: Book one of The Apocalyptics. The book will introduce us to a myriad number of characters of which the key is not the ex-soldier Bartholomew, but a young girl named Matilde. The story will bring the reader into a turn of the century, the 20th century, struggle to stop the immortal Famine. An era that saw the birth of the automobile and overland travel done by train, or horse. A period where gaslight was used over the modern conveniences we know today.
The book will first introduce the reader to Bartholomew who for some reasons is besieged by crows. It is during these first opening passages that we find out how old the man really is. I won’t spoil his age as it is best left to the reader to find out. He despised the black winged creatures but knew they were the eyes of “The Catcher”. They wanted him to see something, or someone, and he knew he must follow to see what they wanted of him. What he sees does not leave him much hope but leaves enough curiosity that he will remember what he sees.
It is just a bit later that the reader is introduced to the main antagonist of the book, and the one whose name graces the books title. The character is the black rider, the creature that consumes death and despair where it travels. The last thing to note, there is no reason for this character to be a hideous creature, but instead it’s a lovely woman. A woman that has Bartholomew in her control and will make him do things he does not wish to do.
Famine is an imposing character no matter you may sense from the character as you first are introduce. As the reader learns more about her and her cadaver army of followers, yes I wrote cadavers her nature will come out even more.
The book takes time to introduce each character including Bartholomew’s butler and maid (Mr. Vernon & Mrs. Henderson) you will get to care for these characters. This is how Pierce writes most, if not all, of her characters within the book. They are well developed and as you learn more about each one it’s like pealing back a layer of coating to get to the original item below. This is really evident as we become to know Matilde, who will become Bartholomew’s ward.
The story of Bartholomew’s past and how he becomes involved with Famine, and the Catcher, will show what formed this man. He is torn between two voices who wish nothing more than to control him. One wishes to stop Famine, while the other is the creature herself. She wants Bartholomew to bring the Catcher to her to ensure she can raise the other horseman.
The book will follow Bartholomew, Mr. Vernon, Mrs. Henderson and Matilde as they try and escape Famine. They will go to the ends of the country to escape her and as time passes the fear of Famine will not be far away. There are many aspects of this book that make it a great read. There is the suspense that is built as word of Famine will continue to find the group. There is the stress of keeping what Matilde’s fate holds for her secret as she is trained to be ready. There are also some moments of levity that help keep the reader grounded and being pulled too far into the darkness. There could be a reason for just such writing as you will find out what could lay in the darkness as you read.
Author Monica Enderle Pierce sets up a great story that will leave you wanting more in the pages of Famine: Book one of The Apocalyptics. The character development and settings created are done masterfully. You will be able to visualize some of the homes, business, streets, and people as you read. The book does have some violence and sexual overtones so just a warning to those with younger eyes. Overall though this is a great read and great start to the series.