Disclaimer: notes transcribed as is, no editing has been made so as to preserve my original feelings as I read the chapter.
Part 6, Around The World And Above; Chapter 1, David Allen Forbes
Here, we step away from the USA. David is an Englishman, but because of his heritage and the manner in which his life was spared, he knows a great deal about battles fought elsewhere and specially about the castles & fortresses dotted around the world. He even mentions the Mayan & Aztec strongholds & the Battle of Kukulan against the “Zed Heads”. Another curious nickname for the plague stricken.
He mentions the differences between a castle & a palace, I’ve frequented enough of both in my home country to know exactly what he is talking about. Any tourist could go to Buckingham Palace or Warwick Castle & immediately notice the differences in both style & purpose. Makes me wonder what the details are for Versailles.
That was a first-rate cock-up.
A very English phrase, Max Brooks must know some “real” British folk, as opposed to some of the forced, contrived so-called British accents these American actors try to perform (& very rarely succeed at).
David, probably as part of his own book research & from his own experiences, notes the dramatic pros & cons to living in such fortified bastions. Mainly the cons.
The journals written by some of the dying tell of people going mad with desperation, leaping into that moat choked with Zed Heads.
When you take into the account of maintaining your defences, supplies of food & medicines, making sure people behave responsibly within their safe walls, keeping sickness at bay (the list seems endless), it’s a wonder some people managed to make these places a safe haven. There’s just so much that can go wrong & then quickly make a small problem life threatening to everybody.
As it happens, if you do plan things right, think it out & co-operate sufficiently you can make these fortress’s truly impregnable. Like Chenonceau in France, a wonderful piece of strategy that kept those survivors safe & secure for years.
He mentions the fantastic organisation skills & forethought that saved communities, he even mentions two places I’ve visited. Beaumaris & Conwy. So as I’m familiar with both, it makes the story even more compelling. I’d love to read the novel he mentions, “Camelot Mine”.
One man’s attempt to find a safe place to live becomes a safe haven for “several hundred other survivors”.
I mentioned that David’s life was saved by a castle, Windsor to be exact. It is the largest estate that is fortified & in a working condition. David mentions all the fancy modern extras that have been installed over the year, most of which I’m familiar with, especially the suppression system. I remember the fire in ’92, and although I’m not a Royalist I do remember a great feeling of loss over the event.
I do so love the idea of the Royal Engineers rigging up scaffolding to get at & utilise the natural gas & crude oil deposits in the vicinity. But then I’m used to the seemingly endless creativity of those troupe of resourceful buggers, makes sense that they’d be knocking about the place finding solutions to problems wherever & whenever.
Most of all I like the way David & his fellow Britons have relied on their history, wielding a claymore makes perfect sense against a zombie and he’s right; bullets do run out. I reckon they became a way of life for most Europeans not just Britons. Europe has a long & bloody history, the weapons are obsolete now but a zombie horde on your tail would definitely make a battle-axe an indispensable addition to your survival kit.
David closes his chapter with a “stiff upper lip” nod to the monarchy of these Isles. I’m not sure about the rest of the family but I can definitely see Queen Elizabeth II sticking around with us commoners, being defiant in the face of adversity. Not that I’m bad-mouthing the Royal family, I’ve just never seen the real point of them as they don’t really wield much power in our lands any more. Although, with the way our parliament is running the country lately…
I really shouldn’t talk politics.
Suffice to say that I would’ve liked to have heard more from David, he seems to have fluffed over much of his own experiences in favour of the castles themselves. It is clear how vital a role they played, alongside the ingenuity of the people who chose to ride out the storm within them.
As a side note;
Not even the general public knew what their tax dollars were paying for: bulletproof glass, reinforced walls, retractable bars, and steel shutters hidden so cleverly in windowsills and door frames.
I don’t personally know anyone who says tax dollars in my neck of the woods. Especially as the country’s currency is Pounds (sterling).
A mistake perhaps, or just British people slowly becoming Americanised. In any case, to me it kind of screams off the page as an error. No doubt I’m reading too much in to it.