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Kings of a Dead World

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The Earth’s resources are dwindling. The solution is the Sleep. Inside a hibernating city, Ben struggles with his limited waking time and the disease stealing his wife from him. Watching over the sleepers, lonely Peruzzi craves the family he never knew. Everywhere, dissatisfaction is growing. The city is about to wake.


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The Earth’s resources are dwindling. The solution is the Sleep. Inside a hibernating city, Ben struggles with his limited waking time and the disease stealing his wife from him. Watching over the sleepers, lonely Peruzzi craves the family he never knew. Everywhere, dissatisfaction is growing. The city is about to wake.

54 review for Kings of a Dead World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paperback

    4.5 stars Author Interview TODAY with Jamie Mollart in the chat so you can ask your own questions! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIiAf... We discuss; -greek mythology 🏛 -psychopathic characters 🔪 -cover art 🎨 -and writing in a pandemic 🦠 This is a dystopian sci-fi and it also fits into the climate-fiction genre too Three narratives and two timelines - Jamie Mollart has done an exceptional job of fusing these together to create an awesome reading experience. Included in my May Wrap Up video: https://www 4.5 stars Author Interview TODAY with Jamie Mollart in the chat so you can ask your own questions! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIiAf... We discuss; -greek mythology 🏛 -psychopathic characters 🔪 -cover art 🎨 -and writing in a pandemic 🦠 This is a dystopian sci-fi and it also fits into the climate-fiction genre too Three narratives and two timelines - Jamie Mollart has done an exceptional job of fusing these together to create an awesome reading experience. Included in my May Wrap Up video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xNv-... We’re in a world where all the resources on earth are running out and the powers that be have decided that the solution is something called “the sleep”, everyone sleeps for three months straight and then wakes for a month so essentially you’re only awake for 3 months in the entire year. This was an interesting read, thought provoking, and some good twists as well. Id love to see this on the big screen, This has got massive potential for a movie or a tv series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brian Clegg

    Jamie Mollart's Kings of a Dead World is a challenging read, but is a great demonstration of why science fiction is much more than just space operas (fun though they can be) - the genre gives a unique opportunity to explore the worlds of 'What if?' I'm not quite sure why, but dystopias - which this very dark book is with a vengeance - seem to be back in fashion. To be honest, in difficult times likes these I prefer to read enjoyable escapism, but if someone insists on publishing a dystopian nove Jamie Mollart's Kings of a Dead World is a challenging read, but is a great demonstration of why science fiction is much more than just space operas (fun though they can be) - the genre gives a unique opportunity to explore the worlds of 'What if?' I'm not quite sure why, but dystopias - which this very dark book is with a vengeance - seem to be back in fashion. To be honest, in difficult times likes these I prefer to read enjoyable escapism, but if someone insists on publishing a dystopian novel during a pandemic, Jamie Mollart has discovered a way to make the concept fresh and interesting. The book has three interlaced storylines. One is from before the collapse of society as we know it, pretty much around the present, which is 50 years in the past of the other two storylines. In that future world, most of the population is put to sleep for months at a time, emerging for a month of life before being put back to sleep again. We see this occurring from the viewpoint of an elderly citizen and his dementia-suffering wife, and from the worldview of a janitor, a member of an elite who stay awake all the time to look after their sector of the country and to somewhat magically generate money ('credits') for the sleepers to live on when they wake. The setup is hugely imaginative - a fascinating thought experiment in world building. For me, by far the best segments were those featuring the janitor - to an extent, I wish the whole thing had been told from this viewpoint which would have both removed the mildly irritating interlacing of storylines and would have made the gradual reveal of what had happened more dramatic. As it was, I rushed through the other segments to get back to the janitor. There's real depth in his gradual realisation of the false nature of his picture of the world, and an excellent portrayal of his stranger-in-a-strange-land experiences in the zone that he nominally controls as his world falls apart. I did have a couple of problems with the book. We discover that Ben, one of the two main characters, was a bomb-making terrorist in the past-set segments, which makes it difficult to identify with him. He is also in his eighties in the late-set segments, yet despite this and a poor diet, he sometimes acts physically as if he were Bruce Willis in Diehard. The bigger issue was the credibility of the scenario. The changes to the UK don't bear any resemblance to current climate change predictions. For no obvious reason, countries seem to have abandoned all efforts to produce renewable energy or mitigate climate change. The country can't support the basics of life, but is able to maintain an extremely high tech computerised system controlling citizens' sleep. Similarly, it's not possible to maintain simple technology like wind generators, but somehow this extremely advanced technology is kept going. Perhaps worst of all, in the 50 years or so between the 'our world' and 'their world' segments, all existing culture and religion has been replaced by one dreamed up from scratch - it's far too short a timescale for such a fundamental culture change. The result is a mixed bag. Mollart leaves a lot hanging at the end - I don't know if the intention is to have a sequel, but there is a lot that is never tied up. For a modern title, there are surprisingly few female central characters - the strongest drawn is an AI. Despite the flaws, though, the action sequences are engaging and there is considerable depth to the world that Mollart has created. It's not the sort of book that I can really say that I enjoyed - but I'm very glad that I read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Kings Of A Dead World had a highly imaginative and powerful premise, immediately involving and beautifully done. Moving between past and present, from a group of revolutionaries (or terrorists depending on how you look at it) to a world that sleeps to protect resources, this novel proposes a truly terrifyingly possible end to life as we know it. Jamie Mollart immerses us into two lives, one old, one young, both with their own particular demons, living in a dead world. As we learn what lead them he Kings Of A Dead World had a highly imaginative and powerful premise, immediately involving and beautifully done. Moving between past and present, from a group of revolutionaries (or terrorists depending on how you look at it) to a world that sleeps to protect resources, this novel proposes a truly terrifyingly possible end to life as we know it. Jamie Mollart immerses us into two lives, one old, one young, both with their own particular demons, living in a dead world. As we learn what lead them here, a darkly observant narrative unfolds as both realise that the status quo might not be exactly as it appears. This is an intelligent, thought provoking tale which is also highly addictive and full of character twists and turns that really engage the reader with the world created here. It is melancholy and oft beautiful with an underlying sense of unease that stays with you. Really excellent. I have no problem at all with highly recommending it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ceris

    Someone turn this into a film! It'd be absolutely fantastic on screen, too. Someone turn this into a film! It'd be absolutely fantastic on screen, too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cailean McBride

    I think it was Clive James in one of his collected TV reviews who made the observation that science fiction (and especially the speculative variety, I’d add) tells you almost nothing about the future it represents and everything about the time in which it is written. Thus even the likes of the old Republic Flash Gordon serials say more about the twin fears of xenophobia and organised crime that permeated the Depression-hit 1930s. And Blade Runner says more about 1980’s fear of the effects of glo I think it was Clive James in one of his collected TV reviews who made the observation that science fiction (and especially the speculative variety, I’d add) tells you almost nothing about the future it represents and everything about the time in which it is written. Thus even the likes of the old Republic Flash Gordon serials say more about the twin fears of xenophobia and organised crime that permeated the Depression-hit 1930s. And Blade Runner says more about 1980’s fear of the effects of global corporatisation on the self and the then nascent concern over environmentalism than it does about 2019 (either the fictional version or the real one we’ve recently lived through). And this is also certainly true of Jamie Mollart’s Kings of a Dead World. It’s core concept — that dwindling resources and overpopulation leave the human race seeking drastic, and bleak, measures to ensure survival is an impactful premise because you know that it’s a real one and that whatever real answers we come up with aren’t going to be pretty, if we even come up with any at all. It’s this disquiet that keeps us reading. It’s an issue in which every one of us invested, every one of us has a stake. The problem for me is that Mollart’s conception of our future world never quite fully lifts itself off the page. The best analogy I can think of is to take the two big hitters of this genre — Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World — and use them as something of a case study. Both are great books that have pertinent points to make even today but I always feel that Orwell’s world attains a solid and believable reality that Huxley’s never does. The reason is the same as I ultimately found the world of Kings unconvincing. The world-building, while skilful, is too comprehensive, too complete. For a world set a mere 60 years from now, the entire social hierarchy, from the Bacchus-worshipping Janitors to the Rip Van-controlled Sleepers seems just that bit too divorced from the world that precedes it. Times move on, often dramatically, but echoes of the old orders persist. For instance, we are very much in the digital age now but distinct aspects of Elizabethan feudalism still persist, and perhaps always will. (Although it should be mentioned that there is a pretty credible in-world reason why this might be the case but one that spoilers prevent me from making any more explicit). For me, where Kings really works is as political allegory. In representing a world where a sophisticatedly manipulated populace are controlled by an elite who attempt to prop up a failing and increasingly ineffective systems of stock markets, the book really works. And as a Ballardian parable of a society falling into violent collapse it’s an effective and thrilling read. The atmosphere of rising dread in the Awake sections of the novel is palpable and credible and these are definitely the strongest portions of the novel. The desperation as the ageing Ben struggles to provide for his dementia-ridden wife Rose amidst a backdrop of fraying tempers and dwindling resources provide some of the most emotionally affecting moments in the book. Less effective are the Asleep sections which focus on Peruzzi, the city’s Janitor. You can see why they’re there — to give us an insight into the wider organisation of the city than we could get merely from Ben’s POV. But they are less involving perhaps because Peruzzi and his fellow Janitors are isolated, solitary figures, hard to empathise with, even before we start to see their truly amoral, even murderous, sides emerge. And their Paganistic worship of Bacchus gives these sections an almost 70s Logan’s Run-esque vibe. Ultimately, the Peruzzi and Ben storylines are married together but not in a way that I find wholly convincing, relying as it does just a bit too much on massive coincidence. We’re asked to make an emotional leap in the last pages of the book but I’m not sure sufficient groundwork was put in to make it stick. Mollart is incredibly adept at the action sequences which are gripping and zing along nicely but he does tend to elide over the emotional a little. By contrast, I would liked to have seen a little more in the Before section, of the events that led up to the introduction of the Sleepers. This section is well-realised and the sequence of events of the ‘end of the world as we know it’ feels all too credible and realistic. But there feels as if there was scope here for more character work in the relationships between the younger versions of Ben and Rose and both their relationships with charismatic cult leader Andreas. There’s also an interesting relationship with the disturbingly violent police officer Quinn, who pursues them and who later plays a pivotal role in the story. Putting the conflict between these two more directly into the story could, I think, have been interesting. But despite its minor flaws, it’s a compelling, well-written thriller and certainly does force the reader to engage with world issues that really should be more on our minds than they currently are.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Snoakes

    The dead world is a futuristic version of earth, where climate change has left much of Britain flooded and what remains is parched and arid. No amount of solar panels or wind turbines has been enough to satiate the world's greed for power. Therefore the United World Congress has come up with an extreme solution - if the demand for resources cannot be curbed, then the time that people can use those resources will be. The result is The Sleep - three months of induced sleep followed by a month of r The dead world is a futuristic version of earth, where climate change has left much of Britain flooded and what remains is parched and arid. No amount of solar panels or wind turbines has been enough to satiate the world's greed for power. Therefore the United World Congress has come up with an extreme solution - if the demand for resources cannot be curbed, then the time that people can use those resources will be. The result is The Sleep - three months of induced sleep followed by a month of real life. Peruzzi is one of the kings of this dead world. Raised from birth to be a janitor, he leads a privileged if lonely life, monitoring his patch of the city, maintaining his sleepers and trading to earn the creds they will use to buy supplies when they wake. 82 year old Ben is one of those sleepers. His wife Rose has dementia and his struggle to make the most of their short time together is deeply affecting. But when they were younger, Ben and Rose were activists in an organisation called the NSF - fighting the authorities for people's right to control their own lives. And so the story unfurls from three points of view: Peruzzi, Ben and Ben's account of his life before the Sleep in the NSF. It's a dark dystopian thriller with complex and not always likeable characters. Initially, Ben's devotion to Rose tugs the heartstrings and yet as you learn more of the NSF, you wonder how much of your pity he deserves. But too late - you are already invested. Peruzzi too appears a benevolent figure at the start, selflessly caring for his flock, but he is naive, quick to anger and easily led astray. I particularly liked the fact that some elements of this world were left unexplained. Where do all the luxuries Peruzzi enjoys come from? Likewise who supplies the resources to keep the sleepers alive? What exactly were the NSF fighting for? Not filling in all the details cleverly keeps you mulling it over long after you've finished reading. Gripping and thought-provoking, I couldn't put it down. Without doubt, one of my books of the year.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark Redman

    Jamie Mollart – Kings of the Dead World ‘Kings of a Dead World’ by Jamie Mollart is a powerful work of dystopian, speculative fiction, set approximately sixty years in our future. Earth’s resources are dwindling to the point of running out. At the same time bringing the onset of drastic climate changes. The solution is The Sleep: periods of hibernation imposed on those who remain with only a Janitor in each zone to watch over the sleepers. The story is split between two characters, Ben Middleto Jamie Mollart – Kings of the Dead World ‘Kings of a Dead World’ by Jamie Mollart is a powerful work of dystopian, speculative fiction, set approximately sixty years in our future. Earth’s resources are dwindling to the point of running out. At the same time bringing the onset of drastic climate changes. The solution is The Sleep: periods of hibernation imposed on those who remain with only a Janitor in each zone to watch over the sleepers. The story is split between two characters, Ben Middleton and Peruzzi. Ben in the time before the new world, tries to stop it happening with his anarchist group NSF. Ben in the present day, coping with the new world. Peruzzi is the caretaker for his district sleeping inhabitants in this new world. The storyline featuring Ben in the ‘time before’ concentrates on what Ben did, how and why he helped bring about this new world. Both Ben and Peruzzi are flawed characters in this character-driven book. I found myself completely wrapped in their feelings and worries, their triumphs and their every emotion. On the downside, the narrative was very focused on the experiences of a few men, with little input from women. Yes, there was Rose, Ben’s wife. I felt for how Ben struggled with his waking time and the disease stealing his wife from him. We also have Kitty, Andreas’ sometimes girlfriend. This wasn’t so much a problem, just worth noting. There were plot revelations that changed my opinion about Ben. This demonstrated how well the characters were developed. How the author handled this development, especially evoking feelings both positive and negative towards Ben. It made me ask, what would I have done? On the speculative side of the plot, it felt very much like The Handmaids Tale. It is very easy to see this world event scenario happening. It makes you question the ethical dilemmas, of who should live and die, like the final solution, although this isn’t discussed in any depth. Other ethical questions about how we should live, who has the power to make these decisions, should they make these ethical decisions. It was all very immersive and felt very realistic, insightful and powerful. Towards the end, there were some really good plot revelations and I felt the ending was handled perfectly. This was a brilliant reading experience and it makes you think and question the world we live in. Very highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Derek

    Kings of a Dead World by Jamie Mollart General Fiction (Adult) | Literary Fiction | Sci Fi & Fantasy Description The Earth’s limited resources are dwindling. The solution is The Sleep: periods of hibernation imposed on those who remain with only a Janitor to watch over the sleepers. In the sleeping city, elderly Ben struggles with his limited waking time and the disease that is stealing his wife from him. Outside, lonely Janitor Peruzzi craves the family he never knew. Around them both, dissatisfact Kings of a Dead World by Jamie Mollart General Fiction (Adult) | Literary Fiction | Sci Fi & Fantasy Description The Earth’s limited resources are dwindling. The solution is The Sleep: periods of hibernation imposed on those who remain with only a Janitor to watch over the sleepers. In the sleeping city, elderly Ben struggles with his limited waking time and the disease that is stealing his wife from him. Outside, lonely Janitor Peruzzi craves the family he never knew. Around them both, dissatisfaction is growing. The city is about to wake. My Review. This is an awe-inspiring novel, a real page-turner. It is a dystopian story designed to pull at your very heartstrings. Reading this, I am thinking J.G Ballard, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. High Rise, Brave New World and 1984 all rolled into one. This is brilliant because they are three of my all-time favourite books. Kings of a Dead World is definitely an incredible read. Jamie Mollart presents us with a future that is not beyond the realms of possibility. All the growing of food and production of other goods are done away from towns and cities. These tasks are performed by robots but, it is up to the Janitor's to trade goods on a stock market and gain credits for the populace. There is a lot to like about the character of Ben. He loves his wife Rose but, he knows the futility of the future. He feels such pain, not for himself but for her and the many like her. Peruzzi is a flawed Janitor, built like a brick toilet (too much spare time on his hands), who is quickly, getting disillusioned with life. There is a lot of passion and empathy within the characters involved. Ben especially, despite his ageing frailties, shows the reader how as human beings, we can still find strength when needed. We have glimpses of how and why Ben and Rose got together and who the cult leader Andreas was, and how they got involved with him. It also goes on to explain the anarchy that the cult caused that preceded events. But no spoilers. The dialogues are very realistic, as you would expect, so prepare for imaginative language and content. As each chapter progresses, it ramps up the excitement. And the pace was relentless throughout. I hope that does not sound like a contradiction on my part. Kings of a Dead World is also quite thought-provoking. There is a passage in the book where Ben says, "The meeting of the United World Congress was to be held the following month. The leaders were to be flown in over a period of three days, and decisions were to be made that would end the shortages and over-population and the rising waters and wars and starvation. The solutions presented ranged from extreme to unimaginable, and there was a feeling, certainly amongst the people that I associated with, that this was the final solution, no one, ever expects they will see Armageddon in their lifetime. no-one expected the world wars, the middle-east wars, the Korean holocaust, the oil wars, and yet, somehow there was always an end to them, and the human race marched on." And I thought how poignant, very apt and who knows maybe very prophetic. I think this may be a controversial book for some, then so were most of Ballards, he didn't do too bad as an author, did he? Maybe that is the best compliment I personally can pay the Kings of the Dead, if it had been written by J G Ballard, I would not have been the least bit surprised. I am sure we will be hearing a great deal more from Jamie Mollart. Suffice to say, I really enjoyed the book. It was insightful, intense and imaginative. Kings of a Dead World is a thought-provoking thriller of a novel that will entertain to the very end. Thank you, NetGalley and Sandstone Press, for the ADC.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Harley

    Climate change is rendering the world uninhabitable and there are too many people for the space that’s left. The world needs to do something and world leaders are taking matters into their own hands. Their solution? Sleep. With a capital S. In the waking time between, Ben steals moments with Rose, who is slipping through his fingers as each Awake moment passes. Peruzzi watches over them all, tasked as the sentient watchman of the Sleepers, but his ivory tower is shrinking. The city is waking up Climate change is rendering the world uninhabitable and there are too many people for the space that’s left. The world needs to do something and world leaders are taking matters into their own hands. Their solution? Sleep. With a capital S. In the waking time between, Ben steals moments with Rose, who is slipping through his fingers as each Awake moment passes. Peruzzi watches over them all, tasked as the sentient watchman of the Sleepers, but his ivory tower is shrinking. The city is waking up and reality is crumbling. Ben is desperate to confess his past before it’s too late. What is left when the world we thought we knew falls apart around us? What a novel. I raced through this at such a pace that I definitely need to read it again. This is the kind of book I want to go back and revel in. Spot the moments that link all the parts of the plot together in this tense, multifaceted and fast-paced narrative. I have read a lot of ‘cli-fi’ style books, and what strikes me having read this novel is how often books in this genre focus on the powerlessness of the human race against the inevitable climate onslaught we all face. Narratives focus on the post-apocalyptic ‘after’ and how humans that are left begin to rebuild. But this comes only after humans are ‘done to’. In this novel, world leaders have to choose to ‘do to’ the human race. They realise they need to take decisive actions. What Mollart shows us is something that feels close and uncomfortable – the reality is that world powers will have the power to decide what action to take and this novel explores what that action might look like. It places humans in the driving seat and it’s not pretty. Mollart’s pacing was perfect – while I felt like I was hurtling towards the climactic ending for most of the novel, at no point did I want to slow down. There was something in that which spoke to the wider themes in the novel – there’s a fragility to the set up with ‘Sleep’ which, once tested, rapidly unravels. I think the only place the pacing came as a detriment was in some of the emotional exchanges between characters. I wanted to feel a little more for their interactions, some of which were imbued with such human feeling that I didn’t really have time to take it all in. That said, I can see why it would be that way – the chain of events wasn’t going to wait for emotion or relationships. It certainly didn’t detract from the thoroughly engaging reading experience. This book is one I’ve thought about for some time since putting it down. It is powerful and uncomfortable and real. And you should go read it, because it is out now! *Thanks Sandstone Press for this advance read copy in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Asher

    I think that this book does a really good job of being a novel: the prose is really enjoyable; the characterisations are fully fleshed out, internally consistent, distinct, and interesting; tense sequences actually made me feel tense; pacing was consistently interesting throughout. I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book. I don't know that it had anything particularly new to say, though. The picture it painted of a climate-apocalypse Britain felt detailed and interesting, and much li I think that this book does a really good job of being a novel: the prose is really enjoyable; the characterisations are fully fleshed out, internally consistent, distinct, and interesting; tense sequences actually made me feel tense; pacing was consistently interesting throughout. I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book. I don't know that it had anything particularly new to say, though. The picture it painted of a climate-apocalypse Britain felt detailed and interesting, and much like The Wall, it had a real sense of the landscape. The underlying messages about power and consequences I liked a lot, and again felt really real. But really new ideas? Not a ton, honestly. I feel like Early Riser did a much better job of thinking about the effects that hibernation would have on society, for example. On the flip side, I certainly enjoyed the pastiche of trading and ideas about what effect traders actually have on the world. I guess my sense of disappointment comes from the fact that this feels like a first book in a series, and I still have a number of questions about how things became the way they are and where it goes next. I think that the sense of unanswered questions also comes from the way that we see the world through the eyes of the people who aren't pulling the strings, and in a way it did a very good job of conveying that sense of powerlessness under capitalism. Real life isn't satisfying, and the fact that it managed to tie three storylines together and have one or two genuine reveals really isn't to be sneezed at.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Hauser

    This is one of the most gripping books I have ever read! Jamie Mollart has the most incredible imagination and paints such a vivid picture I could see every person and every single place so clearly in my minds eye. The thought of the end of the world becomes very real and as you follow Ben and Peruzzi's journeys through this story - you find yourself feeling their worries, their triumphs and their every emotion as this incredible story unravels. The last book that left me feeling like this was Sta This is one of the most gripping books I have ever read! Jamie Mollart has the most incredible imagination and paints such a vivid picture I could see every person and every single place so clearly in my minds eye. The thought of the end of the world becomes very real and as you follow Ben and Peruzzi's journeys through this story - you find yourself feeling their worries, their triumphs and their every emotion as this incredible story unravels. The last book that left me feeling like this was Stanley Kubricks Clockwork Orange many years ago - I thought about it for weeks and The Kings of a Dead world has moved me in just as powerful a way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul Braddon

    'Kings of a Dead World' by Jamie Mollart is an astonishing and powerful vision of society struggling post environmental collapse, full of memorable characters and unique settings. A clever structure lures you in, catching you on the horns of the individual narratives until it all comes crashing together with unstoppable force. If you like your dystopian reading matter dark and peppered with surprises, then this is for you. 'Kings of a Dead World' by Jamie Mollart is an astonishing and powerful vision of society struggling post environmental collapse, full of memorable characters and unique settings. A clever structure lures you in, catching you on the horns of the individual narratives until it all comes crashing together with unstoppable force. If you like your dystopian reading matter dark and peppered with surprises, then this is for you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ellis Di

    The high concept of the book draws you in and the characters, and them slowing losing grip on everything they know and understand, keeps you turning the page. It’s a satisfyingly slow burn to the point of conflict and once it hits, it gets even more powerful. The visuals are striking and the characters grab hold of you. KOADW is a gripping read and so relevant for these strange times.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Scott

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Kings of a Dead World: A Welcome Take on Dystopia Kings of a Dead World is the latest release from Leicestershire writer, Jamie Mollart. Six years following the release of cult hit The Zoo, Amazon’s 2015 Rising Star author is back with a compelling and remarkably fresh interpretation of dystopia. As a member of the Climate Fiction Writers League, Mollart’s builds his world in the not-so-distant future where war, exploitation and global warming have finally laid waste to the land. The new Earth is Kings of a Dead World: A Welcome Take on Dystopia Kings of a Dead World is the latest release from Leicestershire writer, Jamie Mollart. Six years following the release of cult hit The Zoo, Amazon’s 2015 Rising Star author is back with a compelling and remarkably fresh interpretation of dystopia. As a member of the Climate Fiction Writers League, Mollart’s builds his world in the not-so-distant future where war, exploitation and global warming have finally laid waste to the land. The new Earth is shown through the eyes of Ben, a man whose many years have not been kind, as he wakes from a medically-induced coma called The Sleep. He is part of the world’s 99% who are forever forced into a cycle of 3 months of sleep with only one waking month in between. Compared to more traditional dystopian tales, like The Hunger Games or A Clockwork Orange, Mollart’s backbone concept adds that corporate control for an eerie kind of realism where the world no longer cares for its people. In terms of the plot, scenes periodically flick between three story strands. For me, this is what kept the pages turning. One chapter is dedicated to Ben, the next, Peruzzi then, what I found the most compelling, the flashback sequence. The rolling switch in perspectives gives the plot momentum whilst only feeling a little jarring during the first few chapters. For example, the book opens with Ben’s first-person perspective then shifts to third to introduce Peruzzi, a well-dressed corporate who must stay awake to watch the Sleepers. However, the punchy but intimate style does an impressive job of placing readers alongside Peruzzi, much like it does with Ben, so that the change is barely noticeable after Chapter 2. As mentioned earlier, Mollart’s style is quick, focussed and concise. That’s not to say it fails to take its time and sketch out the wasted English cityscapes. In fact, many instances don’t shy from slowing down and holding certain moments. Some of the book’s strongest points are when Ben stops to appreciate fleeting moments with his wife, Rose before her memory is lost to her disease. However, it handles the pace of a scene well, rarely losing itself in its own description. Kings of a Dead World makes a habit of teasing out its plot like the nature of religious icon, Rip Van, and the events which led to The Sleep as a global solution. My main criticism is how the book handles character. Certain interactions and dialogue, to put frankly, seem entirely out of place. For example, a particular flashback strand depicts younger Ben and Rose fleeing from armed police then proceeding to make love in an alley during the tail end of their chase. It is sequences like these that really disconnect some gripping characters from the plot, itself. This is especially frustrating when the book has some truly poignant scenes like when Present Ben tries desperately to piece together Rose’s scrambled memory. Overall, Kings of a Dead World is a welcome and surprisingly evocative take on the dystopian genre. Where it sometimes falls short on character, its fragmented structure and focus on individuals do exceptional work to craft a unique apocalyptic Britain. 4 out of 5 stars. By Mitchell L

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    "Kings of a Dead World" is definitely an uncomfortable read. Jamie Mollart presents us with a future that is far too possible and distasteful. As entertainment, though, it can't be faulted. It's a brilliantly written and immersive story that's hard to put down. The characters are realistic, and "Ben" was my favourite. One for the bookshelf labelled "WARNINGS TO HUMANITY". My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opini "Kings of a Dead World" is definitely an uncomfortable read. Jamie Mollart presents us with a future that is far too possible and distasteful. As entertainment, though, it can't be faulted. It's a brilliantly written and immersive story that's hard to put down. The characters are realistic, and "Ben" was my favourite. One for the bookshelf labelled "WARNINGS TO HUMANITY". My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley. This review was written voluntarily and is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jazz M

    Handmaid's Tales meets the Inverted World This is a fantastically imaginative novel, eerily prescient in light of the pandemic and, like The Handmaid's Tale, a stone's throw away from happening. The story tells of a world run out of resources and the only solution is to put the majority of the population to sleep for three out of every four months. The novel follows the story of primarily two characters, as well as a third narrative looking back at the past. This novel is incredibly well written an Handmaid's Tales meets the Inverted World This is a fantastically imaginative novel, eerily prescient in light of the pandemic and, like The Handmaid's Tale, a stone's throw away from happening. The story tells of a world run out of resources and the only solution is to put the majority of the population to sleep for three out of every four months. The novel follows the story of primarily two characters, as well as a third narrative looking back at the past. This novel is incredibly well written and well-paced. It was a real page-turner as issues escalate and catastrophe is anticipated. At a deeper level, the commentary on society and human behaviour is insightful - motivations are really well thought out for most characters. Lucky enough to read this via #NetGalley

  17. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    With an overpopulated earth and resources dwindling the only option the Government has determined for its inhabitants is to put them to sleep; so begins the story of how this dystopian world came to be. We hear from two viewpoints, Ben Middleton who tries to stop this new world with his anarchist group NSF and Peruzzi the caretaker for his districts sleeping inhabitants. The story and its characters were so gripping that I read this in one sitting. The two protagonists Ben and Peruzzi were both With an overpopulated earth and resources dwindling the only option the Government has determined for its inhabitants is to put them to sleep; so begins the story of how this dystopian world came to be. We hear from two viewpoints, Ben Middleton who tries to stop this new world with his anarchist group NSF and Peruzzi the caretaker for his districts sleeping inhabitants. The story and its characters were so gripping that I read this in one sitting. The two protagonists Ben and Peruzzi were both flawed but so real that I couldn't relax until I knew exactly what was going to happen to them. 5 Stars and would definitely recommend! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book to read in order for an honest review

  18. 5 out of 5

    Will Jones

    I couldn’t put it down! A gripping read that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The dystopian future created is overly familiar and feels very close to home, making you ponder topical themes such as global warming and climate change. The characters are like people you would bump into in the street and I found myself rooting for them through their trials and tribulations. I couldn't stop imagining the movie adaptation as I read! If you liked George Orwell’s 1984, you will love th I couldn’t put it down! A gripping read that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The dystopian future created is overly familiar and feels very close to home, making you ponder topical themes such as global warming and climate change. The characters are like people you would bump into in the street and I found myself rooting for them through their trials and tribulations. I couldn't stop imagining the movie adaptation as I read! If you liked George Orwell’s 1984, you will love this.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ally

    I wish I could read it for the first time again, just so I can experience the twists and turns of the whole adventure. My whole body has never been so tense when reading about Ben and Peruzzi and their lives both within and outside of the compound. The way it is written, you really get a sense of who these characters are and why they are motivated to do they things they do and why they make certain decisions. I genuinely miss these characters already.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Philipa Coughlan

    "This is the new natural selection" - wondered if I'd like it....I Loved It! Dystopian climatic fiction. But great characters human interest story of heightened emotions amongst a concrete catastrophic world. The Sleepers are us - CHRONOS GOD AND Rip Van control our lives. Some will fight back -but will they win? Not my usual read - excellent "This is the new natural selection" - wondered if I'd like it....I Loved It! Dystopian climatic fiction. But great characters human interest story of heightened emotions amongst a concrete catastrophic world. The Sleepers are us - CHRONOS GOD AND Rip Van control our lives. Some will fight back -but will they win? Not my usual read - excellent

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Review to follow

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chiara Liberio

    Kings of a Dead World is a thought-provoking, gripping piece of speculative fiction that is set in a dystopian future not too far from the present. All resources of the planet have been depleted, flooding has changed the coasts and Earth is overpopulated. As a consequence, the world’s powers have come up with technological solutions to periodically put people in Sleep mode not to consume more. Janitors are “supervisors” of individual cities: among their duties, they have to win Creds off each ot Kings of a Dead World is a thought-provoking, gripping piece of speculative fiction that is set in a dystopian future not too far from the present. All resources of the planet have been depleted, flooding has changed the coasts and Earth is overpopulated. As a consequence, the world’s powers have come up with technological solutions to periodically put people in Sleep mode not to consume more. Janitors are “supervisors” of individual cities: among their duties, they have to win Creds off each other -- which correspond to money for the people to buy what they need -- in trading sessions that remind of a mixture of the stock market and tactic games. New deities and collective rituals have been introduced, too. This world is monitored in Big Brother style and revolts cannot happen because the Janitors can put people to sleep with a single click. Yet there are cracks in the system and by the end the scenario will be radically altered. We follow the narrative from three interesting perspectives that will intersect at certain points: the compelling narrative of Ben, an old man whose wife has progressive dementia and he struggles to keep her in touch with reality and to find food in this new world; Peruzzi the Janitor, who commits hubris as he discovers that he can roam out there when everyone sleeps and be king of the dead world -- every outing of his is full of suspense; and an unnamed terrorist from the past who had fought desperately to alter the course of events and gives insights into how this world came to be. This novel fuses Orwellian elements, from surveillance to the dilapidated, dusty atmospheres of the city, and Gibsonian touches (The Matrix). I found the premises interesting and original, both in the treatment of overpopulation as a main lens and in the gamification aspect, i.e. imagining how to make markets flow. Moreover, the plot is gripping as you feel you are always on the verge of something ominous and it was intriguing to see characters going to the extremes – the scenes of societal collapse felt devastating and full of impact. Despite total ecological collapse, it was possible to put together quicky a sophisticated global control system; while this seemed far fetched to me at the start, the reasons become clear toward the very end and I could only fully appreciate it on second thoughts. Some parts/elements felt a bit too long/distracting, and the introduction of new divinities also felt a bit awkard (how can humanity come to believe in Chronos in a very short span of time?), but the new collective rites are strange and quirky and everything in this action-packed novel seems perfect for a movie: you actually feel you can visualize what is going on. Altogether the novel is well conceived, full of interesting ideas and kept me guessing and hooked till the end. Thank you Sandstone Press and Netgalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    “People had been expecting the world to end for so long that no one really noticed when it did.” My thanks to Sandstone Press for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Kings of a Dead World’ by Jamie Mollart in exchange for an honest review. This is a powerful work of speculative fiction set approximately sixty years in the future. With the Earth’s resources dwindling and the effects of climate change, a series of drastic solutions are implemented to decrease the population. One of these is The Sleep, perio “People had been expecting the world to end for so long that no one really noticed when it did.” My thanks to Sandstone Press for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Kings of a Dead World’ by Jamie Mollart in exchange for an honest review. This is a powerful work of speculative fiction set approximately sixty years in the future. With the Earth’s resources dwindling and the effects of climate change, a series of drastic solutions are implemented to decrease the population. One of these is The Sleep, periods of hibernation that are imposed upon the population. Each sleeping population is watched over by a Janitor, a member of an elite who remain awake. The narrative is split into three storylines. The first features elderly Ben Middleton, who has just woken from his three month sleep and now has a month with his beloved wife, Rose, whose increasing dementia means that she is quickly slipping away from him. The second focuses on Peruzzi, a Janitor living in a compound assisted by a powerful AI, named Ripley. (‘Alien’ tribute?). He craves contact with the family that he has never known. Both men are aware of growing dissatisfaction in the population of the city that is about to wake up. The third storyline is just described as Before and features Ben in his 30s giving an account of his early relationship with Rose and as well as his involvement with the charismatic Andreas. They were both university professors and Andreas involves Ben in the NSF (Natural Selection Front), an environmental group that quickly moves into ecoterrorism. Ben’s history wasn’t always easy reading though I felt that Jamie Mollart did well in depicting Ben’s radicalisation. Jamie Mollart is an active member of the recently established Climate Fiction Writers League. This global collective seeks to raise awareness about climate change through their writing. I certainly feel that ‘Kings of a Dead World’ accomplished this through examining the experiences of a few living within this dead world. Even though I was quite taken with it, there were a few issues. The narrative was very focused on the experiences of a few men, with little input from women. Yes, there was Rose and Kitty, Andreas’ sometimes girlfriend, but only Ripley, who was identified as female even though an AI, emerged as a strong presence for me. It was also a little difficult to get a sense of the larger picture of the justification for changes such as the banning of all religions. Despite this the Janitors have adopted the ecstatic worship of Bacchus, a golden bull. Was this a curated religion to allow them to blow off a little steam? The golden bull did appear to reference Old Testament frolics rather than Roman bacchanalia. There was quite a lot of action, though some of the violence was quite strong. Plus, a few ‘ewww’ moments with the Sleepers (not all Janitors were ethical). The final section was very tense and page-turning exciting. I did feel that the ending was a bit abrupt though it does allow an opening for further writing in this dead world. Overall, I found this an intelligent, thought-provoking novel that examined serious issues and yet was both readable and entertaining. Pretty much what I look for in science/speculative/dystopian fiction. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniele Foa'

    [Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.] – Spoiler alert! - @sandstonepress The book is another episode in the apocalyptic dystopia revival of these last years. Unfortunately, I read it just right after “Brave new world”, and, considering the latter was written 80 years ago, it shows. Yet, I would recommend reading the book as it is in any case a nicely flowing science fi [Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.] – Spoiler alert! - @sandstonepress The book is another episode in the apocalyptic dystopia revival of these last years. Unfortunately, I read it just right after “Brave new world”, and, considering the latter was written 80 years ago, it shows. Yet, I would recommend reading the book as it is in any case a nicely flowing science fiction novel. There are some quirks and flaws in the story, which are not quite explained (unless there is space for a sequel or a prequel), such as what exactly happens in between the two storylines over which the books is narrated (as an example, who exactly is Rip Van, and how it came to rule this world or segment of the world?). Also, the fact that you are brought to sympathize with a terrorist in a “V for Vendetta” way, leave somehow a bad taste in the aftermath, although it is fiction only. The best message, however, is brought at the end, when you find out that, despite objective differences, the passing of time, the hostile environment, family and human relationships are the saviors of the day. As Jamie Mollart says in the acknowledgments, “somewhere at its heart, this noverl is about family.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Smith

    I received an ARC ebook copy free through Netgalley. The cover and premise of this novel immediately intrigued me, and I wasn't disappointed! This sci-fi dystopia set in our near future explores a world in which drastic actions have had to be taken to control the population and distribute resources in a Britain ravaged by climate change and political unrest. I loved the structure of the novel, jumping between the two main characters who both had intiguing roles to play within this eerie world - M I received an ARC ebook copy free through Netgalley. The cover and premise of this novel immediately intrigued me, and I wasn't disappointed! This sci-fi dystopia set in our near future explores a world in which drastic actions have had to be taken to control the population and distribute resources in a Britain ravaged by climate change and political unrest. I loved the structure of the novel, jumping between the two main characters who both had intiguing roles to play within this eerie world - Mollart's writing skillfully unwound the mystery of the world they're in, I loved the depth of his characters who were all morally grey but well-developed in their motivations and passions. There were some slower sections, but the action more than made up for it, and the slow tension builds up to a crescendo of an ending, which left me wanting even more. A fantastic book that I will definitely be left thinking about for weeks, and I will be on the look out for more of Jamie Mollart's writing in the future! Just to note: There were a few spelling and grammar mistakes throughout the book, but I understand that this was an advanced copy, and I hope these will have been resolved for the finished book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Max Reads

    Review to follow!

  27. 4 out of 5

    George

    Not likable characters

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill Latimer

    I really enjoyed this book, it is not something I would have normally chosen for myself but I am glad I read it. It was well written and it kept me interested all the way through and I am glad the ending was what I hoped even though I was about halfway through before I realised about the characters and the possibility of the two endings. Looking forward to reading more books by this author

  29. 4 out of 5

    E.J.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Noel-Storr

  31. 5 out of 5

    John Quirk

  32. 5 out of 5

    Rakie Keig

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kath Olukoya

  35. 4 out of 5

    Robin Kemp

  36. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Robb

  37. 5 out of 5

    Aðalsteinn Sumarliðason

  38. 4 out of 5

    Jodie McPherson

  39. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

  40. 5 out of 5

    Karen Abc

  41. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  42. 4 out of 5

    Denise

  43. 5 out of 5

    Maisie McAuley

  44. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

  45. 4 out of 5

    Charleen

  46. 4 out of 5

    mols

  47. 4 out of 5

    Alya

  48. 4 out of 5

    Bridgit

  49. 5 out of 5

    Thaminah

  50. 5 out of 5

    Ingerlisa

  51. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  52. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  53. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

  54. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Broxup

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