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Loved it! 😍

Post-apocalyptic 'buddy story' like a thousand others? No, because there's something else on the loose in the radioactive rubble...

'D' - competent, military, and trained to survive. Zach, a civilian, 'trained'? Not so much... but D gets lumbered almost straightaway with looking after him, as they make their way through what's left of the US. D, you see, is on a mission - he has to get to Three Mile Island.

The problem is that something has moved pretty sharply to fill the gap we've left by blowing our world to shreds. Christened 'Brogs' by the survivors, they're fast and hungry. Finally, as details about the world we're in are drip fed to us, we realise this is not the US as we know it. Who are (or were?) 'The Coalition' that dropped its nukes during the resource war, and what exactly happened in the last years before the atomic fires rained down?

In Ultimatum, we journey through the ruins until D and Zach chance across a bunker, and a varied group of survivors. Amongst them is Cella, a biologist trying to learn as much about the Brogs as she can. Will these people gell, or kill each other? And just why is 'D' headed for 'Three Mile' with such tenacity?

Let's take the writing style first. Ultimatum has a peculiarity - it's written in the present tense, which, combined with a terse turn of phrase, takes a chapter or two to adjust to. But this gives the writing an immediate, tense feeling like you looking through a camera lens - this is 'Hurt Locker', but after the bomb. It's true that at times I had to reread passages to be sure I had got it straight what was happening, but the overall impact is visceral, especially when the guns start going off.

Then there's character development. In the bunker, things are not happy as the characters play out seemingly trivial rivalries (who is going to sleep with who?). Their backstories and motivations, who we like and who we're pretty sure we're going to hate, though, are established through bitchiness, alpha male conflict, and just plain out-and-out unpleasantness. This group is unstable, and shifting alliances are going to make the inevitable trek across the wildness that's coming all the harder.

This book is clever and delivers on your post-apocalyptic expectations, but if you also love 'creature features', gritty drama, and stories driven by the dynamics of a group of characters who don't seem to know if they're going to kill each other or not, you will love this. With the claustrophobic flavour of Glukhovsky's Metro 33, 'on the road' vibes of Cronin's The Passage, and 'the monsters are coming' overtones of Max's World War Z, grab it... before it grabs you!

Reviewed by

Garrick Fincham (ex-archaeologist) is a data nerd by day, SF junk modeller by night. He writes character driven dark SF in which the settings are characters too, mostly horrid ones. He lives in Norfolk (UK) with family, pets and a collection of old radios. If you are what you eat, he is sausages.

Chapter 1

About the author

My name is Vladimir Fleurisma. I am a new author seeking to make my mark in the sci-fi genre. 1st generation Haitian American with a love if all things sci-fi and fantasy. view profile

Published on October 16, 2022

Published by

150000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Military Science Fiction

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