There are always mixed feelings when a favoured series comes to an end. You want to see how things pan out, but there is also the terrible realisation that these characters you have come to know and care for will no longer be part of your lives. All you can hope for is a fitting conclusion to make that investment worthwhile. Louise Welsh’s ‘Plague Times Trilogy’ has reached its denouement with No Dominion, and while I have been waiting eagerly since 2015’s Death Is A Welcome Guest to find out what had happened to Stevie Flint, Magnus McFall and their new lives in Orkney, it is bittersweet to think that I won’t get to read what happens next. Luckily, Welsh sends them off in fine style.
After escaping the mainland, hopefully leaving the plague known as “the Sweats” behind as well, No Dominion begins seven years after the end of the last novel. Stevie and Magnus are integral parts of a small community on Orkney, a strange mix of adult survivors and local orphans who are attempting to play happy families while all time the sense of impending threat remains. Some of these children are now reaching young adulthood, which brings with it the normal teenage thoughts of familial and social rebellion combined with raging hormones, a dangerous coupling at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. Continue reading
The latest podcast is an interview with one of our favourite guests, the writer Louise Welsh. Previously she has been on to talk not only about her earlier fiction, but also the joys of reading Robert Louis Stevenson, and all thing Empire Cafe. Her latest novel, No Dominion, is the final part in her Plague Times Trilogy which began back in 2014 (not, as Ali suggests, five years ago) with A Lovely Way To Burn, and continued in 2015 with Death Is A Welcome Guest.
The conversation focuses on the central themes in the trilogy, which include family, morality, society, and what could happen in the face of a global pandemic threat. Just the usual. Louise also reveals the influences on each book, including the Scottish literary connections in part three, and admits that recent political events, at home and abroad, had some bearing of the final draft No Dominion. There is also talk of ghost stories and opera. What more do you want from a podcast? Continue reading
The first part of Louise Welsh’s ‘Plague Trilogy’, A Lovely Way To Burn, was the definition of a fast-paced thriller; a breathtaking rush through a plague ridden London as Stevie Flint tries to escape the city before it is too late. After you had caught your breath, you were already starting to think about what happens next.
Well, now you don’t have to wait any longer…sort of. The second part of the trilogy is now published, and for those waiting for news of Steve Flint you will have to show some patience. However, by that time you won’t care as Welsh has decided to look at the plague from another point of view, and in doing so seems to have included a whole new set of influences.
Whereas A Lovely Way To Burn took dystopian television such as Barry Hines’ Threads and Terry Nation’s Survivors as a starting point, this time round there are echoes of cult cinema, specifically cinema about cults, such as The Wicker Man, Race With The Devil, Children of The Corn and even The Crucible. As with all of the above, in Welsh’s book religious belief when allied to fear of disease and death is twisted to provide persuasive arguments for fundamentalism and sacrifice.