Salt by Colin F. Barnes
“A thought-provoking post-apocalyptic thriller”
In 2014 humanity didn’t stand a chance. A series of fatal climatic disasters struck, entirely drowning the planet.
Now, just one hundred and twenty-five souls remain, surviving on a flotilla of damaged ships.
Facing severe threats to their numbers by a fatal bacterium and increasingly warring factions, they also discover a serial killer within their midst.
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I’ve not read much post-apocalyptic fiction but combining that backdrop with a thriller angle was a refreshing change. Earth after the ‘drowning’ was well drawn and interesting. The challenges of being one of 125 survivors living on a city of lashed-together boats as basic supplies dwindled away were frightening and thought provoking. The must-haves of life today seemed so pitiful and worthless as they bobbed by on a tide of detritus, of no use to the survivors in their new reality. The sharks were a more threatening component of the new and extensive seascape and added a sinister element to the already scary world of water.
There was plenty of action and numerous threads of intrigue woven into this book to keep me turning the pages – the murders, the virus and the ‘OMG’ secret number 1 … not to mention ‘OMG’ secret number 2 that finished the book and makes you look forward to the sequel.
The characters were real and engaging, and represented realistic sections of society including the religious fanatics (they were completely bonkers), the gang ‘family’, the hard-working ‘get on with it’ types. Eva was strong and independent, a cop in the real world tasked with tracking down the murderer. Her investigations led to her crossing paths with the ‘are they good/are they bad?’ gang ‘family’ of Marcus and his cronies. My initial dislike for them did soften as the story progressed, but I was still left with an underlying distrust for them right up to the end when the murderer is revealed. I could relate to Jim, the elected Captain, and the pressures he faced – who would want to be in charge and shoulder the responsibility of so many people’s lives, all the while being threatened and attacked by the dissenters? His heart was in the right place and tough times call for tough decisions, but the first secret was a tough one to agree with. The full details of this secret actually take a while to flesh out and I must have watched too many programs such as ‘Lost’ as I was expecting it to be more bizarre than it actually was.
I think the scariest realization coming from this book is its sad reflection on humans and how they can’t live together harmoniously even under such dire situations where their only hope of survival is to band together. Instead they must turn on each other. I read the book wondering, would the last remaining people on earth really behave like this … and my answer unfortunately was, yes, they probably would. Read this book so you can avoid making the same mistakes if the world drowns any time soon … another scary thought!
All in all this would make a great movie – are you listening Paramount?
Fishing was one of the few things that had prospered since the world drowned. Seven billion humans meant a lot of food for fish, including predators: eels, sharks, whales. Eva knew there was some irony in there somewhere, but couldn’t bring herself to finish the thought.
He couldn’t afford for Frank to come back to the flotilla with the truth.
Tons of trash had floated in on the previous night’s tide. It always seemed odd to Eva that one of the most enduring remnants of humanity were tennis balls.
Where once a prize would be something worth fighting for, they now fought over scraps and wrecks. Despite everything, there were still men and women who couldn’t see beyond the gathering of physical possessions as a worthy concern.
If you would like to read about the survivors’ struggles in “Salt”, buy your copy TODAY from Amazon.
Learn a little more about the author and the book with these snippets of previously unknown trivia that Colin has been kind enough to share!
I have a personal connection to the book with regards to the research. Although being a boat/ship enthusiast, I didn’t have a lot of first hand knowledge, so my Grandad came in very handy. He was actually on HMS Belfast during World War II when the bomb fell on Hiroshima. He and the crew were at sea in the area at the time and saw the fallout first hand. His service on the ship came in handy to give Salt some direct ship-life flavour.
About the book
While writing Salt, I originally planned to call Eva, Sarah. But as I started to introduce the religious zealots, I saw a few biblical parallels, and with humanity effectively starting again, the name Eve seemed obvious—too obvious, so I changed it a little to Eva.
An interesting point on the ships: the HMS Bravo within the story is based on the British Royal Navy’s current destroyers. I spoke directly with an officer within the Royal Navy HQ and they sent me a schematic of the ship in order to get the layout correct. They even offered to give me a tour of the ship, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it due to the tight editing deadline.
Amazon.com rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars from 37 reviews
Goodreads rating: 4.21 out of 5 stars from 24 ratings
(Correct at the time of writing.)