My Time As A Shadow

My Time As A Shadow book

Here’s the blurb…

As undead Britain falls apart, who lives to tell the tale?

2025… and the unthinkable apocalypse has happened. Zombies walk, the world’s population has been devastated. Three years on from the first outbreak, those who made it still struggle to make sense of it all.

In the UK, what’s left of the army has clawed back control, but vast swathes of the country are now Plague Zones, crawling with hordes. In the government’s Facilities, undead loved ones are experimented on… the world holds its breath, desperate for a cure.

For the survivors, the show must go on. Celeste Lauren pieces together the past lives of patients, haunted by her own ghosts; reluctant soldier Micah Randall still visits Annie, his infected partner; while survivalist loner Rob Allen scavenges luxuries for the Delivery-Zee franchise among the ruins.

When the antidote arrives, the side-effects are serious. Which of these three very different people will survive, as their fates become inexorably entwined?

Here’s a visual promo for it…

My Time As A Shadow promo image

And a selection of reviews…

“Exhilarating, cerebral, touching, nostalgic, unsettling, funny, prescient and extraordinarily absorbing. The best book I’ve read in 2021 so far” – Amazon reviewer

“A refreshingly unique and captivating survival journey” – Amazon reviewer

“Believable characters, gore in copious amounts, and a plot which is so well written that you can’t help but read it through gritted teeth” – Amazon reviewer

“As a woman, I really enjoyed reading from the perspective of the female survivor… Celeste’s presence is written so effortlessly. I genuinely cannot praise this book enough” – beyondthewrittenblurred

Everyone has at least one zombie novel in them, or so the saying goes. Consequently, the genre is pretty well served with 86-part series cataloguing the exploits of ultra-capable ex-military men who deal ultraviolence while never entertaining even a nanosecond’s self-doubt during the end of the world.

My Time As A Shadow will almost certainly not appeal to people who devour that kind of book, given that it was an attempt to write a story with three decidedly ordinary, anti-heroic protagonists accelerating towards each other’s desperate lives on a collision course.

Instead, hopefully it will appeal to the kind of crowd who enjoyed witnessing the peculiarly British strain of dystopia seen in The Day Of The Triffids and The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J Walker. The kind of stories where protagonists don’t react to the apocalypse by sharpening blades, uncovering stashes of ammo and executing some intricate bug-out mission, but instead, form their own idiosyncratic survival plans while battling their own barely suppressed traumas.

It was edited by a pro…

With thanks to Gary Walker for his invaluable editing and proofing skills

Here are five inspirations behind the book…

Zone One

Zone One book cover

The press fixated on Colson Whitehead’s 2012 novel being a ‘literary’ zombie book, as though its author’s priority was to try and gentrify the genre’s hardwired tropes by treating them to an expansive literary makeover. Yet buried beneath all the critical hand-wringing about whether it was okay to like it was a genuine zombie classic.

On one hand, it’s a lovingly crafted and beautifully written exploration of deeper themes; on the other, it’s a snapshot of desperate characters – both living and undead – on a futile quest to recreate an idealised world they can never return to. I urge everyone who’s ever enjoyed anything with a zombie in it to read it; it’s easily my favourite zombie book, and one of my favourite books, period.

State Of Decay 2

State Of Decay 2 game

SoD2 is an open-world zombie co-op game which emphasises not only hacking and blasting your way through the undead hordes, but building a base and cultivating a group dynamic among your cohort of survivors in order to thrive in the wasteland. Key to its addictiveness is its series of lovingly rendered locations and, on the harder levels, a sense of achievement at accomplishing pretty much anything without getting bitten.

Arty zombie movies

the Night Eats The World film
A still from the underrated French zombie meditation, The Night Eats The World (La Nuit A Dévoré Le Monde)

The thirst for zed-related content may have peaked a decade or so ago now, but there have been a number of movies since that have shown off the endless regenerative power of the zombie genre: Cargo (2017), The Battery (2012)Ravenous (2017), The Night Eats The World (2018), Train To Busan (2016), #Alive (2020)…

Brit zombie movies

28 Days Later still
Cillian Murphy in Alex Garland and Danny Boyle’s classic speedy-zombie movie, 28 Days Later. This scene was shot first thing in the morning

… and since my book is set in good old rainy, grim, doomed, oh-has-the-apocalypse-actually-already-happened Britain, it would be remiss not to acknowledge two inventive British classics of the zombie-movie genre, in 28 Days Later and Shaun Of The Dead. Both are worth a revisit.

The Rules Of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis’s second novel was the first book I’d read that presented multiple viewpoints of a single event using first-person narratives. I borrowed the technique in My Time As A Shadow and found it quite difficult to balance the repetition with the subtle changes of meaning from each viewpoint – something Ellis does superbly in his book.

Get your free eBook copy of Conversations With Droids, a book of 12 sci-fi short stories.