Tim Lebbon's Eden was published by Titan Books in April/June 2020.
About Tim Lebbon:
Tim Lebbon is the New York Times bestselling author of Coldbrook, The Silence, and the Relics trilogy. He has also written many successful movie novelizations and tie-ins for Alien and Firefly. Tim has won three British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, a Shocker, a Tombstone and been a finalist for the International Horror Guild and World Fantasy Awards. The Silence is now a gripping Netflix movie starring Stanley Tucci and Kiernan Shipka.
Click here to visit his official website.
Earth’s rising oceans contain enormous islands of refuse, the Amazon rainforest is all-but destroyed, and countless species edge towards extinction. Humanity’s last hope to save the planet lies with The Virgin Zones, thirteen vast areas of land off-limits to people and given back to nature.
Dylan leads a clandestine team of adventure racers, including his daughter Jenn, into Eden, the oldest of the Zones. Jenn carries a secret - Kat, Dylan’s wife who abandoned them both years ago, has entered Eden ahead of them. Jenn is determined to find her mother, but neither she nor the rest of their tight-knit team are prepared for what confronts them. Nature has returned to Eden in an elemental, primeval way. And here, nature is no longer humanity’s friend.
REVIEW: EDEN BY TIM LEBBON
Tim Lebbon's Eden is a dark and entertaining combination of horror, science fiction and thriller elements. It's a chilling depiction of a near future world where nature is not humanity's friend anymore, but a deadly and dangerous foe, one capable of killing or crippling you in an instant without remorse. This novel is eco-horror at its best and most memorable.
Eden is a novel that challenges us to look at the world in a different way, because it tells of what could happen if we don't take care of our environment, but keep on polluting it and destroying nature. The author's vision of the future is profoundly unsettling, because he has infused the story with actual and relevant environmental themes that concern all of us.
The events in this novel take place in the near future where nature has been badly damaged and polluted. The Virgin Zones are vast areas of land that have been given back to the nature so that nature can heal itself inside them. These zones are believed to save the planet one day. Humans are not allowed to enter any of them. The oldest area, Eden, is inhospitable to humans and has become a place to be feared and avoided. Eden is a beautiful place, but its beauty is almost inevitably tied to death, because nature has evolved into something elemental and primeval there.
The story begins with Dylan leading a group of adventurers into Eden. They're going to be the first team to cross Eden. Dylan's daughter, Jenn, who is one of the adventurers, hasn't told the others that her mother, Kat, has entered Eden ahead of them, leaving her a message saying that "Eden is my last."... When the team enters Eden, everything seems fairly normal at first despite their guide's warnings. After spending a bit of time in Eden, the team members feel that there's something wrong with Eden and it is less welcoming of humans than anywhere else they've ever been. Soon, they will have to fight for their lives, because Eden turns on them and attacks them...
The beginning of the story serves as an introduction to the characters and the state of the nature in the world. It's also a kind of a travelogue, because it tells of how the team enters the zone. At first, everything is seemingly normal, but gradually things become more terrifying, because the team witnesses strange things that seem to defy everything that they've become used to.
This novel is basically a straightforward man vs. nature story, but it has plenty of style and emotion, which sets it apart from other novels of its kind. The survival horror elements are excellent, because the author tells of how the team members experience strange things in Eden. The author gradually builds up tension and then plunges the story towards a gory and gruesome direction as the team comes face to face with the horrors of Eden with little hope of escape.
The characterisation is fluent and immersive. I was pleased with the author's way of writing about Jenn and Dylan, because he tells of what kind of a relationship they have and how Kat's disappearance has affected them. I was also impressed by how the author writes about the supporting characters - Aaron, Selina, Cove, Lucy and Gee - because he fleshes out their personalities and lives during the story. The author writes well about the tensions between the team members and describes how they feel about each other and what is happening to them. Because the characterisation is immersive and you feel a connection to the characters, their fates will shock and touch you.
The chapters that are told from Kat's point of view are fascinating and well written. They add to the overall atmosphere in an excellent way and provide the reader with information about the frightening changes manifesting themselves in Eden.
One of the things that I like about this novel is that the author hints at the possible end of humanity, because wild nature may well overtake the world and humans are the ones who will become extinct. This gives the reader something to think about. Another thing that impresses me is the author's ability to immerse the reader into the story, because he does it with ease.
I enjoyed reading about what the author writes about animals and plants and how they've adapted to changes in Eden. If you love nature horror, you'll be pleased with the contents of this novel, because the author excels at writing about how nature has mutated and become hostile towards humans.
This novel is slightly reminiscent of Scott Smith's The Ruins and Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, but is - despite having strange and unsettling elements - more grounded in realism and thus has more plausibility. It also reminds me a bit of the Australian eco-horror film Long Weekend (1978) and its remake (Long Weekend, 2008). If you've read Scott Smith and Jeff Vandermeer or you've seen Long Weekend, you'll find this novel captivating.
I find it interesting that the story has a cinematic and epic feel to it, because it's not what you'd expect to find in this kind of a novel. I'd really like to see this novel filmed, because in capable hands it might easily be turned into an excellent eco-horror film.
Tim Lebbon's Eden is a chilling, intense and thought-provoking eco-horror novel with thriller and science fiction elements. It's an unsettling depiction of what may happen if we don't take care of our environment and nature becomes inhospitable to humans and takes its revenge on us. If you love horror stories and tales of survival and endurance, you should put this novel on your reading list, because it's an immersive and thrilling read.