The Kindly Ones

Lethe Pr. Sept. 2021. 328p. ISBN 9781590216903. pap. $16. HORROR
In the aftermath of a global disaster that left civilization crippled and most of the world’s population dead, two groups of survivors meet in what remains of a small village. The Mann family sees the disaster through the lens of religion, considering it a judgment from God. The other group of survivors—three strong-willed women and a young boy named Lugh—see it as the inevitable result of very human choices. James (Life as a Kite) tracks the uncomfortable alliance forged by these two groups and the fault lines that arise as their different belief systems inevitably collide. James is an elegant writer, and here he’s crafted a dark, atmospheric slow-burn of a novel. The characters are sharply drawn, the relationships are nuanced. James explores the ways belief systems shape the societies people construct and the destructive power of those beliefs when weaponized, in this eerie, dark, and thoughtful novel with enough postapocalyptic flavor to keep genre fans deeply invested.
VERDICT Dystopian fiction fans will find a lot to admire here.
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