Rich Hawkins loves to see this country go to pot. Not content with laying the country to waste at the hands of a vampire horde in King Carrion, or destroying it with a zombie-like plague in his Last Plague series of novels. He has now brought this once and proud nation to its knees thanks to a mysterious alien plague that arrived piggybacked onto the meteor that crash landed on earth, with a bang.
The Blight has taken over most of the residents of the UK. The victims have changed, independent of mind, yet connected by a hive-like mind, they have one goal, escape the containment zone and enslave mankind. While they still look human, they have changed thanks to being hosts to an alien lifeforce. Young and old alike are know vessels for a dominant species that have telekinetic powers strong enough to tear a human literally apart at the seams. They are the Nephilim; they are legion, and they are angry.
Gus is on a quest to find his son who was taken away by the military to the containment zone after becoming infected by the Nephilim. Can Gus find his son before he changes fully into one of them?
Ruin is an introspective story, where the larger story is barely touched upon, where the excess baggage of exposition and backstory are trimmed down to the barest minimum, we know what has happened and that Great Britain is in a state of near collapse and that is basically that. The gritty stripped narrative style of Ruin is perfect for this sort of story. Punchy action scenes pepper the emotionally charged story of Gus and his quest to save his son. And the use of a limited cast of characters also serves to ramp up the suspenseful and emotive power of the story.
While Hawkins is a master at destroying the country he comes into his own when dealing the personal nature of his story and Ruin is no exception. Gus' story is as emotionally charged as and heartbreaking as you would expect from such a compelling book. As the plot twists are revealed, and the true nature of what has happened are brought to light, you feel the pain and longing that Gus experiences.
The Nephilim are an extraordinary creation, incredibly powerful, and almost childlike in the way in which they treat the humans in the story, they act like a cosmic spoilt child pulling the wings of a butterfly. If only Hawkins had expanded on them a little more and thoroughly explored their mythology.
Ruin is an emotionally brutal story that will leave the reader feeling battered and bruised. A thrilling story filled with strong imagery and a perfectly pitched ending, firmly cementing Hawkins reputation as one of the great new voices in horror fiction.