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18 July 2012

Day by Day Armageddon: Beyond Exile (2009)

By day J L Bourne is an American navy officer. By night he is a crack zombie author. Or at least he was the last time I Googled him.

Marine Zombie

I read JL’s first book almost 2 years ago. I even reviewed it here on The Ukulele Blog. It wasn’t much of a review by today’s epic rambling standards, but I see that I must have been on a bit of a high, because I awarded it an astonishing 9 on the dark and deeply distressing Triple-B. The book in question was Day by Day Armageddon. If you haven’t bought it yet, then I recommend that you drop everything and do so now! Right now!

The elusive author: J L Bourne

It’s two years later and JL is delivering the goods once more with part 2 in what is promising to turn into a series. Beyond Exile picks up where part 1 left off. It’s almost like the apocalypse never stopped. Hooray!

One of the things that I loved about the first book was that JL wrote it in his spare time. He published it himself before being picked up for distribution by Permuted Press. It was rough and ready, but actually it remains a hugely compelling read. Beyond Exile has much of the same, but I found it a noticeably more polished offering. It feels like JL’s growing up into a proper author and the hazmat suit fits him very well.

Listen to me... I do believe that I’m gushing!

Did someone mention Hazmat Suits?

What’s it all about then?

Well, we’ve got zombies... and lots of them! No prizes for guessing that this is a zombie apocalypse book. Day by Day Armageddon told us about what happened when it kicked off. Beyond Exile continues the tale. Our intrepid hero has had a close shave fighting off some rogue survivors. He’s a little more jaded, and a little bit more wary of life outside his nuclear “missile launch facility”. To top it all off, it looks like something’s happening to the zombies. All we know is that it seems to be related to the radiation from the nuclear blasts... yep, those same blasts that were meant to destroy them. Oh dear, oh dear!

Zombie Card: I would like to live after my dead

There are twists and turns but the format is much the same as its predecessor; The story unfolds in the form of a journal as written by the star. I liken the experience a bit to the phenomenon of found-footage films. Most people either love them or hate them, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. The haters’ main argument is simply one of realism: Why continue filming (or writing a journal) if things are turning to bat-shit... surely you’d be more interested in your own survival? I’m not a fan of found-footage, but I am a fan of the journal format. It has allowed JL to create in Day by Day Armageddon a unique and very personal view of the world. I like his general writing style. It is very matter-of-fact, which fits the story well.

I already mentioned that JL is a military man and this helps to elevate the book. The little details he throws in add a sense of realism that is often lacking in other books of this type.

I'll admit that I didn't know what a Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) was...

There were a couple of things that I thought were going to turn me off this book as I was reading it; One was the introduction of a muslim character. I have no problem with added muslim, but I was wondering whether all the terrible stereotypes were going to appear. I’m pleased to say that JL avoided the obvious. And it might sound odd, but I wasn’t really that keen on the fact that our star was housed with so many survivors. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long before he was back on his own... man versus zombie. YES!!! (punches air). I worried about the whole radiated zombies theme, but it turns out that I was worrying about nothing. And as for the ending! Well, it wasn’t what I was expecting... and that’s all I'll say on that front.

I’m going to close this off. You know that I enjoyed this read. Mark my words... this will be considered a classic one day! Hey... it’s a classic now! I wonder if there will be book 3 in the series? I don’t use Twitter, but I managed to find JL’s feed. In one post he hints at a DBDA3. Let’s bloody hope so!

I gave Day by Day Armageddon an unholy 9, and I’m going to give Beyond Exile another 9. BUY BUY BUY!


  1. is this ever going to picked up and turned into a movie?
    Also he posted the original story in parts online, are these still available anyway?

  2. I would love this to be turned into a movie my anonymous friend, but I'm not aware of anyone planning to do this. Don't know whether the parts are still available online. There is now a third book called Shattered Hourglass. I haven't read it myself yet.
    Thanks for commenting