By David Moody
Thomas Dunne Books, $24.99, 336 pages
In Them or Us, David Moody’s final book in his Hater trilogy is filled with violence and moment to moment survival. The human condition is seen at its extreme worst. Killing, the consolidation of limited resources and paranoia are the principles of the day. At one point, the main character, Danny McCoyne, sums up the central theme of the book by saying, “You have to be ruthless if you want to survive. There’s no room for compassion here.” Despite that claim, Danny McCoyne continually finds himself confronted with moments where he decides that compassion is more important than self-interest. He could have revealed the location of the Unchanged bunker to Hinchcliffe but doesn’t, he could have left the two Unchanged children to their deaths but rescues them instead, or he could have joined Hinchcliffe at the end and killed the last remaining Unchanged but decides to be a barrier to Hichcliffe’s unrelenting drive to kill.
In a story with little hope, it manages to draw in a positive vein at just the right moments. On the last page, this hope is exemplified with a rhetorical question, “Are we ever truly free of our self-destructive nature?”
Reviewed by Jon Sanetel