Apocalypse – Reviewed by Sharon Rawlins
Saturday, 1st October, 2005
This creepy, allegorical thriller by a Carnegie Medal-winning author grabs readers from the very first page. Kit, 15, and his parents are sailing in unfamiliar, fog-shrouded waters when their boat rams into jagged rocks. His parents don’t believe Kit when he admits that he lost control of the helm after he saw an older man’s face, identical to his own, beneath the waves. They manage to get to a nearby island that appears to be deserted until Kit spots a lone girl nimbly jumping from cliff to cliff. When he and his parents set off after her, they discover a small group of religious fanatics living there. Their request for help is met with hostility, particularly toward Kit, and the islanders threaten them with clubs and stones. Soon after, the teen returns to camp to find his parents gone and their tent torn to pieces. In his search for them, Kit repeatedly encounters his mysterious doppelganger. The islanders believe that this man is the Devil and his return will herald the start of the Apocalypse and the end of the world. Is he really the Devil and Kit his spawn, as the islanders believe? Or is he God? Bowler has written a timely and thought-provoking cautionary tale of good versus evil. The unsettling climax may disappoint some readers who prefer rational endings but the concept of belief versus reality rings true. The story is beautifully written and its themes are intriguing.