you may be tempted to skip much of this overly formulaic thriller strand. Far more enthralling is Hunter Murray’s sci-fi world-building, whether he’s delineating the planetary breakdown’s repercussions or everyday life in an Orwellian London that seems to have reverted to how it was in the post-1945 austerity years.
The debut novel from Andrew Hunter Murray, a contributor to both Private Eye and BBC TV quiz show QI, posits a world that has stopped turning. One side is perpetually exposed to the sun, the other in eternal icy darkness. When scientist Ellen Hopper receives a letter from her former mentor at Oxford from his deathbed, she is drawn, at risk of her life, into uncovering a terrible hidden truth that could bring down the country’s authoritarian government. Reminiscent of Robert Harris’s high-concept conspiracy thrillers, The Last Day is polished and accomplished. Murray offers not only a well-realised apocalypse but a plausible vision of politicians willing to do anything, however heinous, to preserve their nation’s standing.