Savage Dawn – preview

book preview of Savage Dawn by Robert Cole



On holiday in England,
Alex Carhill is caught in the nightmare of a nuclear holocaust. In a matter of
hours a mid-summer’s day is turned into a nuclear winter. This is the story
of his
survival in a world that no longer has rules;
where climatic
extremes, murder, starvation and
disease are commonplace.
The story documents the
struggle of the human spirit as the survivors scratch together an existence in
a contaminated wasteland ravaged by plagues of insects and disease. And how
out of the hardship and pain, they forge their own society, based on a new set
of values and ideals moulded from the demands and necessities of life.

In store price: $AU22.95 

Online Price:  $AU21.95 



Format: Paperback

Number of pages:



Author: Robert

Imprint: Zeus

Publisher: Zeus Publications

Date Published:  November 2002

Language: English




Robert Cole was born and grew up in
Sydney, Australia. After achieving a BSc (Honours) at the Australian National
University he travelled extensively and returned to Sydney to complete a Doctor
of Philosophy in molecular biology. He has since worked in a number of academic
institutions and biotech companies and has numerous scientific publications.

Robert is a Research Scientist by profession and
has thoroughly researched the opening scenario and subsequent climatic and
environmental changes that a nuclear holocaust would entail.

this review:

Realistic, Science Fiction,
, 29 December, 2002

Reviewer: Claire from
Sydney, Australia

I have read ‘Savage Dawn’ and I was captivated to the last page. It is thrilling
and fast moving and the characters are realistic and easy to relate to.
The storyline is well researched which adds to its plausibility. The author’s
background in science adds depth to the story and help to explain the scientific
basis of the storyline.
The book is set in England and tells of the struggles of a civilisation to
overcome all odds to survive in the dangerous world they are left with following
a nuclear winter.
It tells a story of determination and courage in the face of devastation and
The use of language in the story is brilliant. The descriptions used are
detailed and graphic.
I was deeply enthralled in the book, finding myself reading ahead to check that
the characters were still alive on the next page.
Even though I’m only 15, I found the book easy to read and understandable. The
book is written for adults but can be enjoyed also by teenagers.

From the ‘North Shore Times’ newspaper:

Greenwich resident Robert Cole is a doctor of
philosophy in molecular biology and a research scientist by profession. He
researched the climatic and environmental changes that a nuclear holocaust would
bring before writing Savage Dawn.

Given current world concerns about nuclear weapons,
this is a particularly spine-chilling story.

describes how a young Australian is on holiday in England when a midsummer’s day
is changed to a nuclear winter night.

He struggles to stay alive in a contaminated wasteland
where survivors are diseased and murder is commonplace in the competition for
food and resources.

One group of people avoids the disaster above ground
because they are living safely in an underground city.

“This scenario is based on precautions taken in
England during 1985 when national treasures and supplies were stored in a slate
mine in Wales and a quarry near Bath,” Rob said.

“I was in England at the time and people were scared
about the possibilities of a nuclear war.

I read a lot of non-fiction books about the
environmental consequences of a nuclear exchange.

One of
the reasons why I wrote Savage Dawn was that I think people don’t realise what
a disaster it would be.”

The book
is available at Dymocks Bookshop, Lane Cove or directly from the publishers at

The best!

‘Savage Dawn’ is the best Australian book I
have read in many years – it’s also the best post apocalypse book I’ve read
since ‘Alas Babylon’. 

Robert Cole has written a gripping novel following Alex Carhill as he and the
scattered survivors of a nuclear holocaust struggle daily to survive in a world
they could never have imagined; a wasteland of radiation, disease, armed looters
and an increasingly dangerous military.

The reader follows Alex’s development from a quiet, insecure, holidaying Aussie
trapped on the other side of the globe by WW3, until he is finally shaped
through the years of turmoil and hardship to become a rugged, confident leader
of men.

A exciting, enjoyable read that is impossible to put down.  Highly


CHAPTER 1 (part samples) 


the east, a plane banked sharply against the swollen nimbus clouds of the storm
as the pilot waited for his clearance to land. The storm was already over
Singapore, rumbling and spitting lightning bolts as it threw itself against the
glistening glass towers of the city. With clearance to land granted, the pilot
levelled out and began his bumpy descent through the cloud. On board was the
usual mixture of Asian businessmen and tourists bound for destinations in Europe
and Asia. Two of the passengers, however, had already completed two months of
travelling overland through Indonesia. They were on their first leg of a world
tour, which had started from their home in Sydney, Australia. Alex Carhill had
thrown in his job as a science teacher, and his older brother Jason, had given
up a promising career as an architect.

nearly a minute of rushing cloud, the plane burst through into the storm. Jason
leaned over to the window and watched the rain beat down on the wings of the
plane. He was the larger and more athletic of the two, with curly blonde hair
and vivid blue eyes, set in a deeply tanned face. Like many men with such
physical attributes, Jason had an air of confidence and calmness about him. In
contrast, Alex gave the impression of agitation and nervousness, as he
constantly moved and glanced around at the other passengers.

first glance there seemed little physical similarity between the brothers.
Alex’s eyes were grey, not blue; his hair was brown, not blond; and at five foot
eleven inches he was two inches shorter than Jason. He also lacked his brother’s
powerful build. His arms and legs were sinewy, rather than muscular and his
chest not so barrel shaped. Yet facially, a family likeness could be seen; only
Alex’s features seemed more pointed and chiselled in comparison with Jason’s
broader and well formed ones.

school Alex had had the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of a
brother who had swept everything before him, both academically and on the sports
field. Of course he could not match him; being of only average ability, living
up to his brother’s reputation was beyond him. But since there was only two
years between them, Alex’s confidence and self esteem suffered. He was
constantly pushing himself towards goals that were beyond him, and when he fell
short, as was inevitable, he would take the supposed failure very much to heart.
He could be shy and awkward with other people too; though, by those who knew him
well, he was valued for his quickness of mind and unflinching loyalty.

in spite of living in his brother’s shadow, Alex had never resented Jason. He
had elevated him almost to the position of someone God-like and unattainable and
therefore not a threat. He always blamed himself when anything went wrong.
Indeed, he treasured his brother’s advice, so it was natural for him to take all
his problems to Jason. Too much so, for his own good, some people thought. It
was so easy to drift through life and let somebody else do the thinking for him.
Like this trip abroad, for instance……..

Another sample continues:

was just about to weigh in with his thoughts as to the most scenic route to
follow, when he noticed that the radio had gone dead. Before he could reach
across to fiddle with the dials, however, an official sounding baritone voice

please! Russia has launched a large number of medium‑range
intercontinental nuclear missiles! It is believed they will detonate over
Britain in the next ten minutes. Please leave the streets immediately and seek
shelter in the nearest building. If you are in a car, stop where you are and
enter the nearest brick or concrete structure. The basement of any house or
building is the safest. Please seek shelter immediately, this is not a hoax. Do
not leave your shelter until the authorities tell you to do so. I repeat: this
is not a hoax.’

the broadcast continued the voice began to falter and crack. It mispronounced
words and stumbled over phrases, then in mid-sentence the radio went dead. For
an instant Alex saw Jason’s confused features, then everything turned into a
chalky brilliance, as if a dozen suns had suddenly exploded around him. He felt
a blistering heat on his face and instinctively dived under the dashboard. The car crashed into the large removal van they had been following. The
impact flung both brothers forward, then back as their seat belts restrained
them; then forward and back again as the car behind careered into the boot. The
front windscreen showered over them, then the back one immediately after. And
still the heat remained. A searing heat that lasted for many seconds and forced
Alex, already cut and bleeding, to squirm further under the dashboard for
protection. There he waited, still held by the seat belt, but with his back
exposed and burning, until his shirt felt as if it would explode into flame and
shrivel him up. But, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. Alex was left
severely winded, breathing painfully, covered in a lather of sweat. He gripped
the dashboard and tried to pull his head up. A dreadful pain seemed to radiate
from his neck, making him gasp and slump forward again. He could hear Jason’s
uneven, heavy breathing above the screams and shouts from outside. Finally,
gaining some control over his voice, he croaked: “JASON!”

rhythm of his breathing continued, but there was no response.

the intense pain in his neck, Alex twisted his head around.

he screamed again, with rising hysteria, as he saw his huge bulk lying over the
steering wheel. His head was caught awkwardly between the spokes and his arms
dangled uselessly down each side of the wheel. A huge gash above his left eye
almost concealed his face under a multitude of coursing red lines. Some of the
blood ran off his nose, while other lines converged on his open mouth and
streamed off his upper teeth and onto the spokes of the wheel. Only Jason’s
sharp, irregular breathing convinced Alex that his brother was still alive.

a shuddering, deafening roar drowned out everything. The remaining windows blew
out, the car rocked violently. Alex could barely hear his own screaming above
the blast-wave. He put his hands over his ears, sobbing and yelling
uncontrollably. When the noise finally died away and the ringing in his ears had
lessened, he tried again to sit upright. Lifting his head with his right hand
and levering himself up from the dashboard with his left, he slowly eased
himself back. A surge of pain shot up his neck and he flinched with a sharp
stabbing pain in his ribs. His breath started coming in short painful bursts and his head began to swim. He turned towards
Jason and started to reach over to him with his right hand, but the effort
seemed to require a strength he did not possess. His vision blurred, his hand
seemed to inch forward as if time itself had slowed to a trickle. Then the image
of his beloved brother faded into white. His head sank forward again and he lost


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