Author: Frank Tayell
Released: April 25th 2017
The Last Candidate is the tenth book in the Surviving the Evacuation series by Frank Tayell. I know that there are two more books in this series following this one that are currently out, with at least one more to be published (Frank Tayell is being a tease and won’t confirm if there will be a fourteenth novel). If you haven’t read any of this series, I strongly advise you stop reading this review, and go check out the first book. It goes without saying that this review will likely contain spoilers for the earlier novels (if nothing more than who survives what).
I was really curious when I saw the title for the tenth book in this series. I sincerely can’t think of a zombie survival series I’ve read where the concern of politics has come up (at least not when the human race was still at such a desperate point). Considering the main character (Bill), and his brother (Shoto) and their respective backgrounds, it really shouldn’t be surprising that we eventually came around to this point. Still, I wasn’t expecting it, and I appreciate that even after so many books Frank Tayell can keep me on my toes.
The Last Candidate takes place a total of nine months after the “evacuation” of London. It’s hard to believe the timeframe, as it feels like they’ve done so much but have made so little progress. I can only imagine how the characters themselves must be feeling about this. Tayell has done a fantastic job of pacing the series; we’re at a believable point for nine months in, and have the threat of an impending winter looming over the future, and that’s in addition to all of the already numerous problems. Despite this I never find myself lost or confused about what is occurring, Tayell is clear and concise when needed.
I really loved all the ethical and moral questions that arose with this series. What was the right response to having two corrupt and incompetent people aiming to win an election (running alongside an unpopular but decent man, making him unlikely to win). It appears that if either of the first two men were to win, things would go very poorly for our little safe haven. Markus is corrupt, sure, but he’s also uninterested in facts or actually making sure the human race survives (beyond his own skin that is). And the Bishop, frankly he terrifies me. A man that twisted by his own beliefs should never be given any sort of power.
Which raises the question; are Bill and Shoto in the wrong for letting the election run its course, or are they wrong to try and intervene? What level of intervention is appropriate? Should they rig the election, change the rules of it, or just go after either man? None of these solutions sound very moral, until one compares them to the men trying to win. Then it gets a lot foggier. I love the debate about it, and I’m sure some would see it at a pretty cut and dry problem, but this is Tayell’s world and I’m happy with the solution his characters came up with.
I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for more information about the zombies themselves. Tayell keeps teasing us with hints that the zombies may be dying out on their own (something I’ve been hoping to see included in a zombie series for ages), but none of our characters have actually been able to confirm it yet. I sincerely hope this is the case, as for me it would increase the believability of the series. Not to mention the ability for everyone else to survive – it’s a lot easier for farm and forage for food if you don’t have to be on the lookout for zombies (or having them squish your crops).
The next novel in the series is titled Search and Rescue, and needless to say I have some theories about that one. I can’t wait to see what actually happens in it (and no, I’m not going to read the description until the last minute – I love doing this with series, as it lets me be more surprised when I dive on in).