Of Starlight and Plague

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Pub Date 28 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 11 Jan 2022

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It began, as big events often do, with small things — a little girl, a little dog, a microscopic virus that leads to a tragedy no one should ever have to face. Having lost his daughter to rabies, Dr. Aaron Pickman tries to derive some meaning from her death. In his search for a cure, he unleashes a virus that will bring the world to its knees. However, just as great tragedies often have small beginnings, great individuals can have humble origins...

Tammany, an injured woman running with a baby in her arms, has one slim, heart-stopping chance to save him.
Fletch, an infected man, tries desperately to protect his oldest friend.

And Louella, an old woman on her Pennsylvanian farm, offers shelter to survivors and becomes the unlikely leader of Camp North Star – one of the last outposts of uninfected humanity.

They are all frail, flawed, ordinary people who rise to meet the challenge of this deadly new threat. Yes, it is a time of plague; but in that darkness, they are the starlight.

It began, as big events often do, with small things — a little girl, a little dog, a microscopic virus that leads to a tragedy no one should ever have to face. Having lost his daughter to rabies, Dr...

A Note From the Publisher

Beth Hersant holds an MA in English Literature and has worked as a poet, essayist, playwright and author. Her first novel, Good Neighbours, received worldwide critical acclaim. She lives in Norfolk, England with her husband, children and their two Labradors, Bailey and Maisie.

Beth Hersant holds an MA in English Literature and has worked as a poet, essayist, playwright and author. Her first novel, Good Neighbours, received worldwide critical acclaim. She lives in Norfolk...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781800469570
PRICE £3.99 (GBP)

Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

I couldn't help it as soon as I seen I was approved for this ebook I had to jump straight into it.

Of Starlight and Plague by Beth Hersant
Was a great quick story.
Which I'm honestly surprised I enjoyed this book alot more than I originally thought.
I really enjoyed the pacing and the slow-tidbits of reveals.
It was wild and exciting and above all fascinating.
This was a one sitting read and honestly I didn't want it to end so soon.
I really got into it.
The descriptive sense was also quite brilliant, the subtle unnerving tones building the fear, some of it visceral and sudden, other parts quietly disturbing.
This novel shows us another side of what "could" happen.
Maybe not this exact plot, but between natural disasters, unpredictable disease, and social unrest we could be teetering on the edge. And that's what I love about these books!
Overall, A fantastic story. And I hope to see more of Beth.

Matador and NetGalley,
Thank you for this eARC.
I will post and tag to my platforms closer to pub date!

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Of Starlight and Plague by Beth Hersant

A good read which is very relatable to what is going on now. Fully believable on how things could go wrong if the very worse type of virus were to take hold .
Great characters , and plot line. Would read other titles by this author.

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Super rabies

I enjoyed this apocalyptic tale about a rampant super rabies virus. It starts with how the virus was created and then how it became a deadly pandemic.

I especially liked the stories of the survivor groups. In this era of pandemics, this story hits close to home and is well written.

I received this book from Matador Books through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review.

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This book is really in two halves - in the first part we learn how a man, a doctor, loses his daughter to rabies and is determined to find a cure that would save others. Very altruistic, but no reputable medical institutions will support his research, which is rooted in some serious animal experiments. So he goes alone with a derelict building on a little Caribbean island, trying to find the cure. What he creates is a new virus which quickly spreads across the world and hits civilisation hard.

In the second part we see the new world as the virus takes hold, with packs of infected people trying to feed their hunger. We meet Louella, an old farmer who sees the way things are going and sets out to save as many of her friends and family as she can, offering refuge in her farm.

The book explores humanity, the lengths we will go to survive, and how ordinary humans will step up when circumstances bring them low. It is very reminiscent of Stephen King's 'The Stand', and certainly kept my attention, even through all the 'sciency bits'. An interesting dystopia, well described and pacy.

Thank you to NetGalley and Matador for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a story about the end of it all.

It took me 1000 years to finish this, because it somehow read like nonfiction. Really interesting, narrative non fic- but still, dense non fiction. It was by no means a bad book & the non fic vibes gave it an unsettling air of realism, which made elements of it more frightening…. But it felt like a lot to get through at points.

Thank you so much Netgalley & Matador for the eArc!!

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My thanks to Beth Hersant, Matador publishing and Netgalley.
So, I'm fairly late in reading and reviewing this book, and for that I apologize. No excuses, that's just the way it is.
So, onto the review!
Listen, I loved this story. It is told in 2 parts. Initially, I was for sure and for shooting that I wasn't going along with that.
Well, I was proven wrong. The first half of the story is told from the Island.that the New Rabies originates, and from New Orleans. This was the most ghastly part!
But, don't quit, "as I nearly did." What comes after in part 2 is fantastic .
This book is filled with death and destruction. But, it's filled with a kind of hope too.
I honestly hate to say too much. All hope is not lost.

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Of Starlight and Plague Kindle Edition

by Beth Hersant 

Thank you to Beth Hersant, NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary reviewer's copy. I am choosing to leave a fair an honest review.

Ms. Hersant has written a disturbing, creepy and scary love letter to Max Brooks, George Romero and all lovers, writers, directors and watchers/readers of zombie movies. She clearly has done her research! Like Max Brooks, she has created a zombie virus out of a rabies variant. As the world has come to realize in the last 2+ years, those virus variants are killers. The variant was accidentally created by a half-mad scientist in search of a vaccine. The virus is nearly sentient, in that, like the virus in both versions of The Crazies, has no other purpose that to survive and reproduce. This makes it deadlier, because the victims are mobile for longer than the average rabies victim. The virus is also zoontic, so everything from bats in the caves to the sleeping dog at your feet could be dangerouns.

The zombies she creates are interesting, as are the non-infected character. Ms. Hersant has taken the time to populate her world with a large variety of people, allowing multiple reactions and actions to guide the read.

As I previously mentioned, Ms. Hersant clearly spent a great deal of time researching doomsday prepping, basic fortress strategy and rebuilding society. She has poured most of that knowledge into one wonderful character, the farm mother, Lou. Lou is the heart of the story, bearing the burden of moving the story and the other characters forward. But in that variety of characters lies the single flaw in the book. There isn't a consistent storytelling type. The beginning is as dry as Michael Crichton's early novels. There is a lot of science we need to absorb. But then the story slides back and forth, with little notice to the reader. It feels like there is a very slight resemblance to a metaphorical ransom note, where as many voices are shoved together to create a whole that is a bit disconcerting.

The story stalls out a bit in sections, and at times that helps the reader catch their breath but at others?

The fear level is there and it appropriately grows as the book goes on. I'm not generally a big zombie reader, but I make an exception for this books.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars


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After losing his daughter to rabies Dr. Pickman becomes determined to find a cure. Instead he created a new strain of the virus that is a lot more dangerous. As the new disease spreads we follow what people will do to survive.

This was a harrowing story of survival against a disease taking over the population. It includes a great mix of science fiction and horror. The creation and spread of the disease is covered with great detail and was heart pumping and exciting. There was a lot of heart in the story as well with what the characters must face. I would have liked some more time spent on character development. The experimentation on animals was really hard to read. However, it had such a great premise and the plot was really well crafted. Overall, this was a great disease outbreak story that is worth checking out.

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