Cathedral, the second book in Dave Jeffery’s A Quiet Apocalypse series, picks up a new tale in the world Jeffery has created, where a pandemic has killed large swathes of the population, leaving the few remaining survivors permanently deaf. Whereas the first book told the story of a lone survivor, Cathedral shifts to a large community, known as Cathedral, a seeming Utopia with a dark underbelly.
Sarah is living in the sanctuary known as Cathedral. A city built to house the survivors of a terrible illness that has swept through the globe, decimating mankind. At Cathedral, people live in relative peace and harmony, but the cost of non-compliance is high.
When an outsider is welcomed into Cathedral, Sarah’s once straightforward life is thrown into turmoil as her feelings for him evoke painful memories of the life she has lost, making her question for the first time whether her newfound home is truly as idyllic as she once believed.
For any readers who haven’t previously picked up book one, A Quiet Apocalypse, then worry not, because Cathedral works as a stand-alone piece in its own right. I started the series here and quickly picked up everything I needed to know about the dystopian world Jeffery has created.
The world-building is incredibly vivid and detailed, for a novella-length work (119 pages). We quickly learn about the world of Cathedral and the various roles all its inhabitants play. It is grounded in enough reality to be believable and credible, with a lot of the more distasteful or abhorrent practices having frighteningly plausible explanations behind them. Like a lot of good post-apocalyptic horror fiction, the horror elements are difficult to read, not only due to the content, but the worryingly close proximity a lot of it is to comparable, real-life scenarios.
The main protagonist, Sarah, is an excellent example. She is a kind, friendly, likeable character, who is content with her life, has a lot of good friends, and genuinely believes in the community she is a part of. We see Cathedral through her eyes and that serves to normalize some aspects of this society which the reader will view as objectionable, but Sarah believes is for the greater good. It is interesting to see her beliefs change as new experiences, coupled with fond memories of her old life, begin to make her realize what this society is denying her.
The book moves along at a fairly slow pace, peppered with acts of shocking violence presented in a very matter of fact manner, and some interesting revelations about the characters and the world they inhabit. This helps keep the momentum moving briskly forward for what is, at heart, a deep-dive character study of a pleasant protagonist with some challenging beliefs, borne from a situation that where her lack of control has resulted in willing acceptance of cruelty as a price paid for safety and security.
Cathedral is an absolutely captivating book. Complex, dark and immersive, my time in the world Jeffery has created was over all too soon and I sincerely hope that there will be a book three with more tales to tell.
Cathedral by Dave Jeffery
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CATHEDRAL … The world has changed. So have the rules. In the silence of a quiet apocalypse, there is Cathedral.
DescriptionCATHEDRAL …The world has changed. So have the rules. In the silence of a quiet apocalypse, there is Cathedral. It is a city like no other, sanctuary for the survivors of a terrible plague that has deafened the world. The walls protect the small community. Rituals and laws maintain order to prevent a return to chaos. But Cathedral is a dangerous and complex place. For citizens like Sarah and newcomer Paul it can be either home or prison. They just have to decide where their loyalties lie… (cover by Adrian Baldwin; central art piece by Dark Artist Roberto Segate)
Curation Results: Cathedral