Fans of The Stand, rejoice! This prelude to the apocalypse will have you biting your nails, for the end is nigh … maybe?
Four planes crash on four continents all in one day. The crashes are unrelated and the causes unknown. At three of the four crash sites, each more devastating than the next, a child survivor is found.
The novel, presented as a nonfiction compilation of articles, interviews, emails and recordings, opens with the final moments of Pamela May Donald, who survived her plane’s crash long enough to see a child and an army of dead, and leave a recording on her phone:
“The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many… They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon.”
Pam’s message is taken by her evangelical church back home and spread as a warning: the surviving children are the harbingers of the apocalypse.
Most believe the theory is crazy, but interviews with the guardians of the three (all of whom were orphaned in the crashes) suggest something otherworldly. Children who go to school with survivor Bobby Small report that he often turns violent. Survivor Jessica Craddock’s uncle begins recording his thoughts, which turn increasingly crazed as he insists his niece is not his niece and she is mocking him. A cousin of survivor Hiro Yanagida reveals via 2chan that Hiro will only speak through an android replica.
Rumors spread that there may be a fourth child in Africa where there was too much chaos at the crash site and fanatics have put a price on the child’s head. If you haven’t caught on, the children are supposedly the four horsemen.
The Three is the most gripping novel I’ve read all year, and the format gave it an eerie sense of reality. I could see it on a nonfiction shelf in the near dystopian future.
Lotz, a seasoned screenwriter, knows her talents and uses them wisely. Each character’s voice is unique and REAL. I would have been able to tell an interview with Bobby’s grandmother from a recording from Uncle Paul without clarification.
Ultimately there’s plenty of room for both belief and doubt – I won’t tell you which way I’m leaning. Alright, since you asked, I totally believe it. Those kids are fucking creepy. But don’t take my word for it – read the evidence and decide for yourself.