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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Narrated by Gemma Whelan.

A world half in darkness. A secret she must bring to light.

2059. The world has stopped turning. 

One half suffers an endless frozen night, the other, nothing but burning sun.

Only in a slim twilit region between them can life survive.

In an isolationist Britain, scientist Ellen Hopper receives a letter from a dying man.

It contains a powerful and dangerous secret.

One that those in power will kill to conceal....

©2019 Andrew Hunter Murray (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A beautifully realised and thought-provoking thriller." (The Times)

"A taut, thrilling runaround." (Guardian)

"Reminiscent of Robert Harris's high-concept conspiracy thrillers." (Financial Times)

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing, cliche packed tripe

I do like Andrew Hunter Murray as a presenter and comedian, but as a writer he unfortunately disappoints. The concept for the story seemed exciting, but then it turns into a predictable attempt at a poor man's thriller, with dodgy politicians who simply want to rule the world. There are much better books out there, in fact most other books are better.

10 people found this helpful

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A Real Disappointment

The Last Day Review I really enjoy AHM's podcasts so I feel disloyal writing this. However, having seen the reviews for this I have to stick my oar in. I don't suppose it should come as a surprise that someone with friends and colleagues in the media industry should have such flattering reviews of his debut book. But for this book to have such glowing reviews is a crime. It's a promising premise. The earth comes to a standstill and the world is learning to cope with the consequences. I had expected a dystopian science-fiction novel. I had hoped, at least, for a story. Instead, what meagre bones there are of a story here are fleshed out with an unintersting trudge around future London on the trail of a McGuffin that doesn't warrant the effort. Most of the book centres on the protagonist (Hopper or Harper depending on how the narrator felt at any given utterance) being given barely notable slivers of information for which she unaccountably feels the need to follow up on. I personally, never felt intrigued by the nuggets she was being given, nor why she followed such an uninteresting line of inquiry. A name to follow up on here, a phone call to a book shop there, a root around in various empty houses to find a disappointing clue that would lead on to another piece of the non-existent puzzle. The big reveal near the end was what the reader would have suspected very early on in the book and cared little about anyway. It wasn't so much a big reveal as a big shrug. The way the characters make leaps to certain assumptions was particularly poor which was a shame since that was what much of the plot rested on. The amount of non-essential detail was incredibly frustrating whenever I suspected a story about to begin. Every time there was a glimmer of interest in something it was interrupted by Hopper remembering some inconsequential vignette from her past or blandly describing a piece of scenery which had no interest to the plot or the reader. If you took away this kind of padding, there would be very little plot left. The writing itself was surprisingly poor with lots of repetitive language structure and vocabulary. I can't tell you how irritated I was by the endless use of adverbial phrases at the end of a sentence. It's not something I've ever picked up on in a book before but here it was almost every sentence. Examples: "The whole thing was visible of the waves, sorrowful and weather-beaten." "Many pregnancies had been brought to an end, prematurely and inexactly.", "There were riots, wearily suppressed." On and on and on! I've got nothing against the structure in itself but when you're beaten across the head with it repeatedly it gets too much. Wherever Andrew could discard a pronoun he tossed it into the bin with frivolous abandon. How many times did Hopper have a lump in her throat, or realise that she felt something? How many people gestured at something? the repetition was endless. How did this get through an edit? Every character sounded the same, there was no variance in tone or sentence structure at all for any of them. It was also really predictable. Every scene seemed to have been lifted from a B-list thriller: the dark shape that was a cat, the timing of the baddies, the obvious traitors etc. What was probably most disappointing was the sheer lack of humour. As a writer for Private Eye and QI, and as a presenter of the Private Eye and No Such Thing as a Fish podcasts, you would expect there to be flashes of wit and satire but there was nothing. He is always the funniest on NSTAF but it was if this was written by a different person- one without an entertaining bone in his body. I'm really sorry, AHM. I will continue to be entertained by your podcasts but your writing is something I will be avoiding in future.

6 people found this helpful

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Highly recommended

Thoroughly enjoyed this book! The iceberg cowboys, a fact from No Such Thing As A Fish podcast! Love it!

3 people found this helpful

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Worth a read! Loved every minute of it

I really enjoyed the imagery, I felt fully immersed in that world. Easy to follow and I really was routing for the main character.

3 people found this helpful

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Highly recommended

I really enjoyed this debut novel. Told almost entirely from the perspective of the main character, this thriller had me gripped from the beginning. A good vs evil story, set in a unique post-apocalyptic environment with the world no longer spinning. It's a fresh approach to the thriller genre, and I look forward to any future novels from the author. The narration was excellent, Gemma was the perfect choice for this novel.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story very though provoking too.

I love science fiction books and stories and this is one of the most original I have listened too or read in recent years. Gripping characters and story with lots of twists on the way. Well worth a read / listen and I hope there is another one in the same world.

2 people found this helpful

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Gripping dystopian drama

I really enjoyed this novel. The strength of the plotting and characters and the tightness of the drama meant that I didn’t question the science of the premise closely. Very well read by Gemma Whelan - she is a perfect choice. The central female protagonist is well written and credible. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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A wonderful Achievement

The book is wonderful. Beautifully crafted writing. Great premise. Gripping story. Read with real skill and brings it all to life. Well bloody done. The author and reader have produced something special. Best wishes. Shane

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable listen with engaging characters

This book is more than just a good sci-fi concept. It is written well, with engaging characters, realistic conversations and behaviours set in a world that could logically exist due to the circumstances outlined.

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Stunning first novel

Loved the premise of the story. Even more, I enjoyed the author’s exquisite use of figurative language. There were many examples I wanted to highlight to consider after completing the novel. I hope there will be a sequel .

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  • HeatherAnn
  • 22-11-20

A last day to loose yourself in

This cannot be the end, it must be the beginning - Hopper is brilliant. I want to see her in the newly discovered world where her science evolves into life changing knowledge for all.

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  • Kean Dermody
  • 18-06-20

A fresh take on the end of the world

This book was lots of fun and very well read. Very easy to follow. I started listening to it about a week before the events of the book start which was kinda weird. I felt that the book ended very suddenly and I wonder are there going to be sequels? If there are, I'll be all in for them.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-05-20

Loved it!

Listened to it in one day! Was totally hooked! I can't wait for the sequel... There's going to be a sequel, right?

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-04-20

Great success as a first novel

Looking forward to a sequel. Very imaginative premise and well imagined world. Narration good too.

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  • Amanda-Li Kollberg
  • 25-02-20

Captivating, eerie and fascinating

Post apocalyptic sci-fi-esque thrillers are not what I’d typically choose to read, but I was curious to find out what my favorite QI elf had created. And I’m so impressed. The world building is stunning, the characters believable and the writing beautiful and intimate. There are so many aspects of this story that feel worryingly realistic, despite the extreme premise, and the book feel like a meaningful political statement as well as a well written story. Quite the debut. Bravo.