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Afterlight. Alex Scarrow

By Carlos Griffin,2014-11-04 17:06
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Review'An entertaining and well paced thriller' BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH 'A bleak, chilling vision of the furture that ends, finally, on a note of flickering optimism.' THE PRESS Product `desc`riptionThe world lies devastated after the massive oil crisis that was `desc`ribed in LAST LIGHT. Human society has more or less entirely broken down and millions lie dead of starvation or disease. There are only one or two beacon communities that have managed to fashion a new way of living. Jenny Sutherland runs one of these groups. Based on a series of decaying offshore oil rigs - for safety - a few hundred people have rebuilt a semblance of normality in this otherwise dead world. But as Jenny and her people explore their surroundings once again, they start to realise not ever Published by Orion on 2010/01/02

Table of Contents

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    Title Page

    Copyright Page

    Dedication

    Acknowledgements

    ? Chapter 1 - 2010 - Eight days after the Oil Crash

    ? The Beginning Chapter 2 - 10 years AC Chapter 3 - 10 years AC Chapter 4 - 10 years AC Chapter 5 - 10 years AC Chapter 6 - 10 years AC Chapter 7 - The Day of the Crash 10 a.m. Chapter 8 - 10 years AC Chapter 9 - 10 years AC Chapter 10 - Crash Day + 1 11 a.m. Chapter 11 - 10 years AC Chapter 12 - 10 years AC Chapter 13 - Crash Day + 1 1.15 p.m. Chapter 14 - 10 years AC Chapter 15 - 10 years AC Chapter 16 - Crash Day + 2 4.45 a.m. Chapter 17 - 10 years AC Chapter 18 - 10 years AC Chapter 19 - 10 years AC Chapter 20 - Crash Day + 2 weeks Chapter 21 - 10 years AC Chapter 22 - Crash Day + 27 weeks 5.45 a.m. Chapter 23 - Crash Day + 27 weeks 6.15 a.m.

    ? The Journey Chapter 24 - 10 years AC Chapter 25 - 10 years AC Chapter 26 - 10 years AC Chapter 27 - 10 years AC Chapter 28 - 10 years AC Chapter 29 - 10 years AC Chapter 30 - 10 years AC Chapter 31 - 10 years AC Chapter 32 - 10 years AC Chapter 33 - 10 years AC Chapter 34 - 10 years AC

    Chapter 35 - 10 years AC Chapter 36 - 10 years AC Chapter 37 - 10 years AC Chapter 38 - 10 years AC Chapter 39 - 10 years AC Chapter 40 - 10 years AC Chapter 41 - 10 years AC Chapter 42 - 10 years AC Chapter 43 - 10 years AC Chapter 44 - 10 years AC Chapter 45 - 10 years AC Chapter 46 - 10 years AC Chapter 47 - 10 years AC Chapter 48 - 10 years AC Chapter 49 - 10 years AC Chapter 50 - 10 years AC Chapter 51 - 10 years AC Chapter 52 - 10 years AC Chapter 53 - 10 years AC Chapter 54 - 10 years AC Chapter 55 - 10 years AC Chapter 56 - 10 years AC Chapter 57 - 10 years AC Chapter 58 - 10 years AC Chapter 59 - 10 years AC Chapter 60 - 10 years AC Chapter 61 - 10 years AC Chapter 62 - 10 years AC Chapter 63 - 10 years AC Chapter 64 - 10 years AC Chapter 65 - 10 years AC Chapter 66 - 10 years AC Chapter 67 - 10 years AC Chapter 68 - 10 years AC Chapter 69 - 10 years AC Chapter 70 - 10 years AC Chapter 71 - 10 years AC

    ? The Journey Home Chapter 72 - 10 years AC Chapter 73 - 10 years AC

    Chapter 74 - 10 years AC Chapter 75 - 10 years AC Chapter 76 - 10 years AC Chapter 77 - 10 years AC Chapter 78 - 10 years AC Chapter 79 - 10 years AC Chapter 80 - 10 years AC Chapter 81 - 10 years AC Chapter 82 - 10 years AC Chapter 83 - 10 years AC Chapter 84 - 10 years AC Chapter 85 - 10 years AC

    ? Epilogue Author Notes

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?Afterlight

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?ALEX SCARROW

    ? ?Orion

    www.orionbooks.co.uk

? An Orion Books ebook

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?First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Orion Books

?This ebook first published in 2010 by Orion Books

?? Alex Scarrow 2010

    ?The right of Alex Scarrow to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted inaccordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

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    ?All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing ofthe publisher, nor to be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than thatin which it is published without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposedon the subsequent purchaser.

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    ?All the characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons livingor dead is purely coincidental.

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    A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

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    eISBN : 978 1 4091 0817 7

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?This ebook produced by Jouve

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    The Orion Publishing Group Ltd

    Orion House

    5 Upper Saint Martin’s Lane London, WC2H 9EA

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?An Hachette UK Company

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    ?www.orionbooks.co.uk

    To Jacob, Leona and Nathan. I started out using you guys as inspiration for the characters andabout halfway through this book realised I wished I hadn’t. You’ll see why. This book isdedicated to the three of you.

    Also by Alex Scarrow

A Thousand Suns

    Last Light October Skies

Acknowledgements

    This book required a lot more research than I expected it to. The person to whom I’m mostindebted is Chris Gilmour, a man with a lot of experience in the North Sea and knowledge of theoil and gas rigs out there. Without his help this would have had to be a very different book.

    I also owe a big thanks to my hardcore team of beta readers; John Prigent, Robin and JaneCarter, and Mike Poole, who waded through my first draft and returned copious notes offeedback.

    Finally, as always, Frances, for the many thorough read-throughs and attendant margin notesthat help me turn my unintelligible ramblings into ‘books’.

    Prologue

    There are many names for what happened in 2010: The Big Die Off, The Crash, The Long Darkness,The End of the Oil Age. It was the week that crude oil was stopped from flowing and the worldcatastrophically failed.

    My head still spins when I recall how quickly it all happened. A complete systemic collapse ofthe modern, oil-dependent world within the space of a fortnight. Events chased each otheraround the globe like a row of dominoes falling. It started with a series of bombs in theMiddle East. Bombs deployed in the holiest of places that set the whole of the Middle East onfire with a religious civil war; Shi’as fighting Sunnis fighting Wahhabis. Then, later on that

    first day, I remember there were other explosions; an oil tanker scuttled in the busiest

    shipping channel in the world, a gigantic South American refinery, an oil processing hub in

    Kazakhstan . . . and a dozen more. By that evening, something like ninety per cent of the

    world’s oil production capacity had been disabled.

    What we were spoon-fed by the news on the first day was that oil prices were going toskyrocket, and that . . . yes, we’d be in for a sharp and protracted recession.

    It was on the second day, or maybe the third, that everyone began to wake up and realise thatbillions of people were very quickly going to starve . . . and that was in the western world,not the Third World.

    The moment people collectively understood what ‘no oil’ actually meant, that was the tippingpoint; the point of no return. Panic and rioting swept like wildfire through every city andtown in every country. No nation was immune. At the end of the first week of anarchy, as citiessmouldered and streets lay quiet, littered with shattered glass and looted goods, broken and

     food was gone. Around the world, ready-to-spoiled things, most of the tinned, preservable

    harvest crops that might have been speedily gathered, processed, tinned and shipped to provideemergency supplies to feed us as the dust settled and we picked ourselves up . . . well, all ofthose crops rotted in the fields because tractors were sitting with empty fuel tanks . . . theBig Die Off began.

    For a long time after the crash, the world really was dark. With no generated power, there wereno lights at night except for the flickering of campfires, candles and oil lamps; the pinpricksigns of life of small communities dotted here and there that had found a way to keep going.The UK resembled some collapsed east African state; a twilight world. Empty towns, burned-outfarms with gone-to-seed fields, empty roads, abandoned cars.

    And I must admit, I’d completely lost hope. I was ready to face the fact that where I was, Iwas going to slowly starve until my weakened immune system finally succumbed to a minor cut ora cold or tainted water.

    Then I met her. Ten years after the crash, I met her.

    She lived in a community of the weak and the vulnerable, living in isolation aboard a clusterof rusting gas platforms in the North Sea. There were four hundred and fifty of them livingthere and, I realise this only now, back then that was quite probably the largest self-sustaining community left in Great Britain.

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