I live in Bristol UK horror dark fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run
The authors comments at the end of Defender add some interesting footnotes to what was a very enjoyable post-apocalyptic story. She explains that "bicameral" man is essentially a human who has two chambers. To you and me that simply means an inner voice within your head and in the context of this novel it is this inner voice that has caused the societal disruption by imploring you to kill. Although to add to the intrigue an "inner voice" can also work for the good as Pilgrim aka scout boy, Lacey, and Alex discover as the story progresses. This inner voice is not as strange a concept as might first appear and most of us would surely admit to having conversations with our conscience. (or maybe it's just me going mad!) "The voices are whispers, murmurings, whatever you want to call them. They were inside us. They're what talked so many people into hurting themselves and others."
The best post-apocalyptic stories (The Road by Cormac McCarthy being a great example) follow certain set patterns. As society has been destroyed then the human race, or what remains, take on the mantle of nomadic travellers and restlessly move from place to place in the hope of finding sustenance and companionship. Within this world devoid of all leadership and direction the evil that man is capable of is soon unveiled...."Fairness and justice had lost their place in the world. If they'd ever had a place in it to begin with."..... Pilgrim has agreed to transport his new companion Lacey to her family home in Vicksburg in search of her niece Addison. They are soon to be joined in their quest by a young lady called Alex. "Defender" is the story of this journey the hardships of the trip and their encounter with Charles Dumont the personification of everything evil. This is a novel that is filled with wonderful colourful characters that come alive under the penmanship of the author GX Todd. The pace is relentless with some excellent descriptive prose.."This time it held no beauty, there was not buttery sun to soften its rough, crumbling edges, no warm, orange brush-strokes to paint it in a kinder light...."He had seen his fair share of half-eaten corpses and was familiar with most of the organs of the human body, in all their states of putridity." A great debut novel and I look forward to reading "Hunted" the second in the series due for release in early 2018.