Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.
Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.
Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.
Eve Smith writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.
Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis, her debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Her flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.
When she’s not writing she’s romping across fields after her dog, trying to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.
Honestly, this sent chills through me. While the pandemic in this book is to do with antibiotic resistance reading it during the Covid-19 lockdown made it feel all too real and the science is fairly sound. Bacteria are being resistant to antibiotics, it’s why everyone admitted to hospital is checked for MRSA, get the wrong infection and you could die.
There’s also the way the government have treated the elderly in care homes – the horror stories from Spain of the army finding the dead and dying abandoned springs to mind.
A harrowing look at our possible future, but also a compelling mystery. In a world where getting the smallest cut could mark your doom, where is the hope trapped in the bottom of the box?
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.