Louise Welsh: the next installment in the Plague Times Trilogy
We look back to A Lovely Way to Burn and forward to Death is a Welcome Guest
This article is from 2015.
Following on from 2014’s A Lovely Way to Burn the second title in Louise Welsh's Plague Times Trilogy, Death is a Welcome Guest, is published on Thursday 4 June. Need a quick memory jog of the first book? We understand, you can read a lot of books in 15 months.
A Lovely Way to Burn is set in contemporary London. A viral pandemic known as ‘The Sweats’ is sweeping the city and decimating the population. Protagonist Stevie Flint, short for Stephanie, has contracted The Sweats and is one of the few people to experience its flu like symptoms and survive. Her new boyfriend, doctor Simon Sharkey, is not so lucky. Stevie discovers his body at his flat in what appears as suicide but could be murder staged as suicide.
A former journalist now working as a shopping channel presenter Stevie begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding Simon’s death. It is a thriller set against the end of the world. Her investigation takes her speeding across London, through chaotic hospitals with teeming morgues, to community set-up quarantines and heaving local pubs as she tries to unravel what Simon and his medical colleagues had discovered.
As is the nature of an opening novel in a trilogy A Lovely Way to Burn leaves many questions unanswered. Why is Stevie immune? Was Simon murdered? Will they find a cure for The Sweats? Can Stevie trust the doctors? And what was the purpose of the high profile killings in the prologue?
Death is a Welcome Guest does not pick up where Stevie left off. Instead we meet new character, and fellow rare survivor, Magnuss McFall. Following an unfortunate incident stand-up comic Magnuss is awaiting trial in Pentonville Prison. As London is thrown into disorder by the pandemic he and fellow convict Jeb escape the prison and flee the city. Like Stevie before him Magnuss becomes embroiled in a murder enquiry, continuing the theme that ‘it doesn't look like murder in a city full of death’. As he travels north to a remote Scottish island Magnuss must try to survive in the new world order, a brutal place of survival where people, food and guns are the new currency.
Death is a Welcome Guest is published by John Murray on Thu 4 Jun.