Fiction Reviews

Seoul Survivors

(2013) Naomi Foyle, Jo Fletcher Books, £16.99, trdpbk, 449pp, ISBN 978-1-780-87598-9


It is the near future. Sydney Travers is trying to become a fashion model in Seoul. Damien Meadows is travelling to Seoul on a drug smuggling run. Once there, he hopes to gain a false identity to escape to Canada. In his mind, it will be the safest place to live when a meteor, called Lucifer’s Hammer, hits the earth. Lee Mee Hee is being smuggled across the border from North to South. She is to become part of plan by Dr. Kim Da Mi to create a society, within the mountains, that could survive the impact of the meteor.

This is a very assured and confident first novel. Foyle gives very evocative descriptions of South Korea. There is the mention of new products and brand names; such as OxyPops (concentrated oxygen pills) and the technology does have the air of developments could be conceivable twenty minutes into the future.

Another theme that comes through the novel is the link between the characters. The uniting factor in all of them is people trying to distract or re-invert themselves so that they can escape their pasts. They want to rework their own or other peoples identity or find a refuge for a forthcoming. While Dr. Mi may have easily fallen into cliché, Foyle avoids this. She has a ruthless pragmatism and a talent for emotional manipulation. But you never feel as if she is a cartoon, just somebody who is doing what is right for a greater good. All the while, there is the sense that the world is slowly crumbling outside South Korea. This leads to a grim climax for the main characters.

If the book does have one flaw, it’s that the narrative might be said to end too soon and could explored the events at the end for longer, but this is a minor debatable point. Overall, I felt that this is a novel defiantly worth seeking out and it will be interesting to see what Foyle’s next novel is.

David Allkins

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