Outpost - Adam Baker I love survivalist stories, either real or imaginary, the way the survivors interact with each other, the breakdown of relationships, strengths and weaknesses and the changes of personality that occurs in trauma driven experiences.

Werner Herzog’s quote seems apt when related to this book “Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.

Kasker Rampart is an oil platform moored in the Barents Sea which normally holds 1000 personnel but is winding down for the winter. Fifteen skeleton crew members are left on board to keep things ticking over until the next relief ship arrives to take them home.
But back in civilisation something bad is happening. Before the TV news broadcasts and radio reports cease the Kasker crew see images of panic and mayhem across the globe and they realise that there may not be a relief ship coming anytime soon.

The crew must first survive the freezing, dark of an Arctic Winter before they can even address the problem of getting home. With low supplies of both food and energy the prospect for survival is bleak but it is going to get worse…much worse. The claustrophobic atmosphere of this huge rig that has become a prison and the threat of impending doom slowly drifting towards them is chilling
Outpost is the debut novel from Adam Baker and like the characters we don’t really know what caused this apocalypse in the outside world, it is not that important. The author focuses on the human condition, the physiological impact of being lone survivors on his characters.

We quickly get to know the main protagonist, Jane Blanc the Kasker’s vicar, who took the thankless job to escape her old life and is weak physically and mentally…she fantasies about suicide …taking an overdose in a bowl of ice cream or jumping into the freezing waters below. As the story progresses she believably develops into a kick arse Ripley-esque determined character, who wants to survive despite the odds. All around her the situation brings out the best and the worst in her colleagues as the primeval instincts to survive at all costs kicks in bringing with it paranoia, madness, cruelty and ultimately self sacrifice.

A good solid, pacy debut from this author who is writing a prequel that is set in Iraq during the Gulf War.