The Three by Sarah Lotz
Narrator: Andrew Wincott, Melanie McHugh
Also by this author: Day Four
Published by Hodder and Stoughton, Little Brown and Company on May 20th, 2014
Length: 13 hours 55 minutes
Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he's right?
The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.
Dubbed 'The Three' by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children's behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival...
The Three by Sarah Lotz is a truly fascinating story. The manner in which it is told is even more fascinating. The premise, four separate planes, across the world on four different continents crash on the same day. And somehow, there are three survivors, all children. What are the odds? Four fatal crashes all on the same day? And three of those un-survivable accidents miraculously have a single child that somehow escaped alive? It’s an unimaginable tragedy. And people can’t help it, they become fascinated and look for meaning or explanations for the survivors as well as for the fact that these accidents all happened on the same day. A day that is now labeled Black Thursday.
The format of the story is part of what really makes this book stand out. Instead of telling the story simply from the perspective of the survivors or a single person close to the survivors, it is told through a series of interviews, reports, transcripts, chat sessions, etc. We get the view of people around the world in a way that just made the story come to life.
Let’s face it; the format of this book greatly mirrors how we follow tragedies in the real world. We get news stories; we hear from fanatics trying to tie religious meaning to whatever tragedy, conspiracy theories, etc. are in the news. Then people talk about them in social media, you see tweets and chats, Facebook posts of whatever the latest buzz is. I think as a human race, we try to puzzle together meaning and causes for tragic events because if we can find a meaning or a cause, we can explain it and then its not truly random, it’s not something that can just happen for no reason. Within this story, people are fascinated by the survivors, referred to as “The Three” and wonder what makes them special? How did they escape? What does it mean that they lived?
And speaking of the survivors, that’s also where the story focuses. Each of these children that survived seems different than before. It’s easy to assume there would be some change for children that survived such a things, especially when they lost parents and siblings. But do the changes they have make sense (can anything make sense) after such a tragedy? Or are these children part of something more sinister or evil? Well, that’s what you’ll have to decide when you read this for yourself. I hate to give away too much of the good stuff.
I highly recommend this book. It is tragic and eerie and fully engrossing. And on top of that, I want to mention that I actually listened to the audiobook and it is now one of (if not my absolute) favorite audiobooks. This is a format that could have easily gone horribly wrong in the transition to audio, but the narrators did a phenomenal job. I honestly don’t know if I would have gotten quite as much of the ‘global’ feel to this story if I had read it instead of listened because no matter how much I try to fool myself, there is no way I could read this book with the accents the narrators were able to do. There were only two narrators, but it felt like a much larger cast because every person in the story, in the interviews had a unique voice as well as the accent to quickly place where they live. Just absolutely a wonderful job and performance, I can’t recommend it enough.