Does anyone know how many novels has Robert Swindells written? When I last tried to count them, they were more than 50.
His first novel “When darkness comes” was published when he was about 34; he was writing full time by the time he was about 41 and he was still writing when he was 71, some three years ago.
If you are older than 40 years you will surely remember the cold war and the fear of an atomic war. I don´t understand why this fear seems to have gone away, when the bombs have clearly not. The danger is still there, and perhaps it needs more publicity.
“Brother in the Land” was not published in the fifties, the sixties or the seventies: it came out in 1984. I don´t remember the eighties being particularly paranoid about atomic bombs, but I do remember reading the book several years later: it left me cold.
The book follows Danny, a kid unfortunate enough to survive the atomic war. The story does not try to give any explanation on why there is such a catastrophe, it just starts with it. For some dumb reason, Danny lives through the short war that only lasts some hours; his real problems begin later. There is no food; diseases caused by radiation do not respect people, animals or plants; robberies, murders and violence in general abound in a territory that is no longer a country or a safe place to live.
Travelling with Danny is his brother, Ben and a girl they meet, called Kim.
Danny is trying to get his small group to Holy Island, where he thinks all of them will be safe.
Be warned: this is not an adventure book where a cool kid vaguely resembling Harry Potter, saves the day and everybody too, while playing soccer or a similar game; this is not a story where you will feel exhilarated and enthusiastic, while pretending to effortlessly kill post-apocalyptic zombies at the same time that you romance the girl next door.
The book does not have a happy ending.
The book will leave you tired, hopeless and disappointed of the human race.
Still, it is one of the most beautiful and strong books I have ever read and I would not only recommend it on heartbeat; if it was up to me, this book would be a mandatory reading on high school.
I wish all the leaders of this planet read this book; I wish everybody read this book. It would teach us all to fear and hate war and defend peace at all costs and above everything else.
This is just how strong this book is.
If you have not read it yet, run to get your copy and prepare to suffer and to learn from one of the most prolific authors of our time: the wonderful Robert Swindells.
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