Autumn: The City: The City

Autumn: The City: The City

by David Moody


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A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead, the Autumn series chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by "phase two" of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities... sight, hearing, locomotion... As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence. Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal - to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world: those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1...

While the first Autumn novel focused on those who escaped the city, Autumn: The City focuses on those who didn't.

Without ever using the 'Z' word, the Autumn series offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There's no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore's sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero's classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312570002
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 02/01/2011
Series: Autumn Series , #2
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 473,803
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

David Moody is the author of Hater, Dog Blood, and Autumn. He grew up in Birmingham, England, on a diet of horror movies and post-apocalyptic fiction. He started his career working at a bank, but then decided to write the kind of fiction he loved. His first novel, Straight to You, had what Moody calls "microscopic sales," and so when he wrote Autumn, he decided to publish it online. The book became a sensation and has been downloaded by half a million readers. He started his own publishing company, Infected Books. He lives in Britain with his wife and a houseful of daughters, which may explain his preoccupation with Armageddon.

Read an Excerpt



For most of the last forty-eight hours, Donna Yorke had hidden under a desk in a corner of the office where she’d worked since the summer. On Tuesday morning, without any warning, her familiar surroundings had become alien, nightmarish, and cold. On Tuesday morning she had watched the world around her die.

Along with the rest of her colleagues, Donna worked an early shift one week in four. This week it had been her turn to get in first and open the post, switch on the computers, and perform various other simple tasks so that the rest of her team could start processing as soon as they arrived at their desks at nine. She was glad it had happened so early in the day. As it was she’d only had to watch four of her friends die. If it had happened just half an hour later she’d have had to watch the other sixty-or-so people in the office suffer the same sudden and inexplicable suffocating death. None of what had happened made any sense. Cold and alone, she was too terrified to even start trying to look for answers.

From her ninth-floor vantage point she had watched the destruction wash across the world outside like an invisible tidal wave. Being so high above the city she hadn’t heard anything, and the first sign that anything was wrong had been a bright explosion in the near distance, perhaps a quarter of a mile away. She’d watched with morbid fascination and genuine concern as a plume of billowing fire and dense black smoke had spewed up into the air from the gutted remains of a burning petrol station. The cars on the road nearby were scattered and smashed. Something huge had clearly plowed through the traffic, crossed the dual carriageway, and crashed into the pumps, immediately igniting the fuel stores. Had it been an out of control truck or tanker perhaps?

But that had just been the beginning, and the horror and devastation which followed had been relentless and on an unimaginable scale. All across the heavily industrialized east side of the city she saw people falling to the ground. She could see them writhing and squirming, then dying. And more vehicles were stopping too—many crashing into each other and blocking the roads, others just slowing to a gradual halt as if they’d run out of fuel. Donna watched as the chaos moved nearer. Like a shock wave it traveled quickly across the city below her, rolling relentlessly toward her building. With fear making her legs feel heavy with nerves, she stumbled back and looked around for someone who could offer explanations and reassurance. One of her colleagues, Joan Alderney, had just arrived to start work but by the time Donna found her she was on her hands and knees, fighting for breath. Joan looked up at her with huge, desperate eyes and her body shook with furious convulsions as she fought to draw in one last precious breath. Her face quickly drained to an ashen, oxygen-starved blue-gray but her lips remained crimson red, stained by blood from numerous swellings and sores which had erupted in her throat.

As Joan lay dying on the ground next to her, Donna was distracted by the sound of Neil Peters, one of the junior managers, collapsing across his desk, showering his paperwork with spittle and blood as he retched and choked and fought for air. Jo Foster—one of her closest friends at work—was the next to be infected as she walked into the office. Donna watched helplessly as Jo clawed at her neck, then mouthed a hoarse and virtually silent scream of pain and fear before falling, dead before she’d even hit the floor. Finally Trudy Phillips, the last member of this week’s early shift, panicked and began to stumble and run toward Donna as the searing, burning pain in her throat increased. She had only moved a few meters forward before she lost consciousness and fell, catching a cable with her foot and dragging a computer monitor off a desk. It crashed to the ground, just inches from her face. Once the sound had faded and Trudy had died, the world became terrifyingly quiet.

Donna’s instinctive reaction was to get out of the office and look for help, but as soon as she was outside she regretted having moved. The lift provided a brief enclosed haven of normality as it carried her down to the ground floor lobby, but the sliding doors then opened to reveal a scene of death and destruction on an incomprehensible scale. There were bodies all around the lobby. The security guard who had flirted with her less than half an hour ago was dead at his desk, slumped forward with his face pressed up against a CCTV monitor. One of the senior office managers—a short, overweight man in his late forties called Woodward—was trapped in the revolving door at the very front of the building, his wide gut wedged against the glass. Jackie Prentice, another one of her work friends, was sprawled on the floor just a few meters away from where Donna stood, buried under the weight of two more men, both dead. A thick, congealing dribble of blood spilled from Jackie’s open mouth and had gathered in a sticky pool around her blanched face.

Without thinking, Donna pushed her way out through a side door and onto the street. Beyond the walls of the building the devastation appeared to have continued for as far as she could see in every direction. There were hundreds of bodies whichever way she looked. Numb and unable to think clearly, she walked away from the building and farther into town. As she approached the main shopping area of the city the number of bodies increased to such an extent that, in places, the pavements were completely obscured—carpeted with a still-warm mass of tangled corpses.

Donna had naturally assumed that she would find others like her who had survived the carnage. It seemed unlikely—impossible even—that she could be the only one who was left alive, but after almost an hour of picking her way through the dead and shouting for help, she had heard nothing and seen no one. She kept walking for a while longer, convinced that she might turn the next corner and find everything back to normal as if nothing had happened, but the ruination was apparently without end. Numbed by the incomprehensible magnitude of the inexplicable catastrophe, she eventually gave up, turned around, and made her way back to the tall office block.

The family home was a fifty-minute train journey away—more than two and a half hours by car. She could have gone back to her flat, but there didn’t seem to be much point. Three months into a one-year work experience placement from business school, Donna had chosen to live, study, and work in a city over a hundred and fifty miles away from virtually everyone she knew. What she would have given to have been back with her parents in their nondescript, little three-bedroom semidetached house on the other side of the country. But what would she have found there? Had the effects of whatever happened here reached as far as her hometown? Had her parents survived like she had, or would she have found them dead too? She couldn’t bear to think about what might or might not have happened to them.

The fact of the matter was, she eventually forced herself to accept, she was where she was and there was very little she could do about it. As impossible and unbelievable as her circumstances now were, she had no option but to try and pull herself together and find somewhere safe to sit and wait for something—anything—to happen. And the most sensible place to do that, she decided, was back in her office. Its height provided some isolation, she knew the layout, and it was clean, spacious, and relatively comfortable. She knew where she could find food and drink in the staff restaurant. Best of all, security in the office was tight. Access to the working areas was strictly controlled by electronically tagged passes, and from a conversation she’d had with an engineer who’d been running tests last week, she knew that the security system itself ran independent of the main supply. Regardless of what happened to the rest of the building, therefore, power to the locks remained constant, and that meant that she was able to securely shut out the rest of the world until she was ready to face it again. The advantage might only have been psychological, but it was enough. During those first few long hours alone, that extra layer of security meant everything to her.

Much of the rest of the first day had been spent collecting basic necessities, initially from just around the office, later from several of the closest city center shops. She found herself some warmer clothes, a mattress, a sleeping bag, and gas lamps from a camping store, enough food and drink to last her a while, and a radio and portable TV. By early evening she had carried everything up the many flights of stairs (she deliberately avoided the lifts—what if the power failed and she got stuck, she’d thought) and had made herself a relatively warm and comfortable nest in the farthest corner of her office. As the light faded at the end of the day she tried every means available to make contact with the outside world. Her mobile phone didn’t work. She couldn’t get anything more than a dial tone on any of the office phones (and she tried more than twenty different handsets) and she couldn’t find anything other than static and silence on the radio and television. The streetlights around the building came on as usual, but with no one else left alive, the rest of the city remained ominously dark. Eventually Donna gave up trying and buried her head under her pillow.

The first night took an eternity to pass and the second day even longer. She only emerged from her hiding place on a couple of occasions when she absolutely had to. Just after dawn she crept around the perimeter of the office and looked down onto the streets below, initially to check whether the situation had changed, but also to confirm that the bizarre events of the previous day actually had taken place. During the dragging hours just gone, Donna had begun to convince herself that the death of many thousands of innocent people couldn’t really have happened so swiftly, viciously, and without any apparent reason.

From where she was hiding underneath the desk, Donna caught sight of her dead friend Joan Alderney’s outstretched right foot. Seeing the woman’s corpse unnerved her to the point where she couldn’t tear her eyes away. The close proximity of the body was a constant, unwanted reminder of everything that had happened and eventually she plucked up enough courage to do something about it. Fighting to keep her emotions and nausea in check, one at a time she dragged the bodies of each of her four work colleagues—stiff, inflexible, and contorted with rigor mortis—down to the far end of the office where she lay them side by side in the post room and covered them with a large dust sheet taken from another floor where decorators had been working.

*   *   *

The third morning began in as bleak and hopeless a manner as the second day had ended. Feeling slightly more composed, Donna crawled out from underneath the desk again and sat down in front of the computer that she used to use, staring at the monochrome reflection of her face in the empty screen. She had been trying to distract herself by writing down song lyrics, addresses, the names of the players in the football team she supported, and anything else she could remember on a scrap of paper, when she heard something. There was a noise coming from the far end of the office floor; the first noise she’d heard in hours. It was a tripping, stumbling, crashing sound which immediately made her jump up with equal measures of unexpected hope and sudden concern. Was her painful isolation about to be ended? She crept cautiously toward the other end of the long, rectangular-shaped building, her heart pounding.

“Hello,” she said, her voice little more than a whisper but sounding uncomfortably loud, “is anybody there?”

There was no response. She took a few steps farther forward and then stopped when she heard the noise again. It was coming from the post room. Donna pushed open the heavy swinging door and stood and stared. Neil Peters—the manager she had watched fall and die in front of her just two days earlier—was moving. Swaying unsteadily on clumsy, barely coordinated feet, the dead man dragged himself across the room and thumped heavily into the wall, then turned around awkwardly and walked the other way. Instinctively Donna reached out and grabbed hold of him.


The body stopped moving when she held it. There was no resistance or reaction, it just stopped. She looked deep into Neil’s emotionless face. His skin was tinged with an unnatural green hue and his eyes were dark and misted, the pupils fully dilated. His mouth hung open, his lips puffed and cracked, and his tongue swollen like an oversized slug. His chin and neck appeared bruised, flecked with dried blood. Petrified, Donna released her grip and her dead manager immediately began to move again. He tripped over one of the bodies of the other three office workers on the floor, then slowly picked himself up. Donna stumbled back out through the doors, which swung shut after her, trapping the moving corpse inside. She glanced over to her right and pulled down on the top of a filing cabinet, bringing it crashing down in front of the door and blocking the way out.

For a while Donna stood there, numb with disbelief, and watched through a small glass window as Neil Peters’s shell-like remains staggered around the room, never stopping. By chance the body occasionally turned and moved in her direction. Neil’s dry, unfocused eyes seemed to look straight through her.

Breathing hard and trying not to panic, Donna left the office floor and stood on the stairs to put some distance between herself and what she’d just seen. The corpse of Sylvia Peters, the office secretary, lay in front of her, spread-eagled across the landing where she’d died earlier in the week. As she neared the body, a slow but very definite movement caught her eye. Donna watched as two of the fingers on the dead woman’s left hand trembled and occasionally spasmed, clawing at the floor involuntarily. Sobbing with fear, Donna ran back to her hiding place on the ninth floor, pausing only to glance out of a window she passed and look down onto the world below.

The same bizarre and illogical thing was happening again and again down at street level. Most bodies remained motionless where they’d fallen but many others were now moving. Defying all logic, bodies which had laid motionless for almost two days were now starting to move.

Collecting up her things, Donna hurriedly made her way to the tenth floor (where she knew there were no bodies) and locked herself into a small, square training room. On her way back up the stairs, she realized that Sylvia Peters’s body had gone.


Copyright © 2011 by David Moody

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Autumn: The City 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
CatieK More than 1 year ago
Mr. Moody has done it again. He has managed to captivate us with his uncanny insight into the human mind and heart. Autumn The City, much like its predecessor, Autumn, is more a story of human behavior than zombie carnage. When all is stripped from the world as we know it, how will we react? Will we lay down and wait to die or fight ruthlessly to live another day? This is a pulse pounding page turner that will leave you angry that the next installment is not immediatley available for download!!! The characters you follow in this story are average, everyday people living in the most catastrophic situation imaginable. You empathize with their plight and root for their survival. Start with Autumn, continue with Autumn The City and wait with bated breath for AUTUMN: PURIFICATION. Bring it on, David, I am beyond ready!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the entire Autumn series. I just finished the 5th and final book. I think Autumn the City is second only to, Autumn Purification. The final book was a bit of a "bummer"; but I suppose not everybook has a happy ending. Read this series and the Hater Trilogy, you'll be glad you did!
SonicQuack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The City is a sequel to the first Autumn in the same fashion that Evil Dead II is a sequel to Evil Dead. It's a rehash, adding very little content, and not answering any questions left over from the first. What differs from the original entry is the rural setting has been replaced with that of a cityscape. In the last quarter of the book the story meets up with where the original Autumn ended (although you won't have needed to read it, since the events have all recompiled in this book). At the end of The City you are presented with no closure, ensuring that you'll continue with the series. That all said, you probably will continue with it. Despite the lack of originality, the repetitive plot, the two dimensional characters, and no memorable scenes - there is a spark in Moody's Autumn series that cannot be dulled. It's a bleak premise and you will want to see how humanity overcomes this setback. It's a quick pulp fiction read that is fine as a filler if you're hard up for top-notch book to read.
severina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
ZOMBIES. Yes. So, weirdly, I had no idea that there was actually a zombie-book market. Did some scouring and most of them appear to be pretty bad. But I decided to pick these up (I got the trilogy, haven't read the third yet) based on reader reviews.They're not bad. A bit repetitive, as we go round the should we leave our safe house/this place will not be safe for long debate several times throughout each book. Character voices are rarely distinctive -- the university professor uses the same language, word choice and cadence as the 14 year old student, every single character says "Don't know" instead of some variation (I don't know, Dunno, etc.) The author seems to be getting better at that midway through the second book, as the character of Donna is a little more feisty than the others. Interesting and has kept me reading.
RuthiesBookReviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the sequel to Autumn. It helps give you an idea of what may have happened to the people in the world. Another fascinating page turner, keeps you interested and on the edge of your seat til the very end.
ocgreg34 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The morning started just like any other for Donna Yorke. She made it to the office for her opening shift, began the task of prepping the office, said hello to the few other workers who shared the shift. Then, her world changed forever as one woman walked through the office doors, suddenly choking, falling to the floor and gasping her last breath. Donna rushes to the window and watches from the 9th floor as the city erupts in chaos, with people dropping to the ground dead in their tracks. Scared and confused, she hid herself in a small corner of the office, waiting.Then, 48 hours later, some of the dead began to wake up."Autumn: The City" is the second novel in David Moody's Autmun series, but calling in the "next" book would be a misnomer. In "Autumn", the story follows three survivors as they leave city, trying to find some place safe, where the possibility of running into the walking dead is very slim. "Autumn: The City" begins with the same events, but sticks with the story of those who remained in the city. Whereas the first had wide open spaces with the walking dead almost hidden from view until the last moment, in this novel, you can't escape from them because they are all around, cluttering and blocking the streets, forming herds that react to any little movement or sound. The psychological effects of seeing such a huge mass with its sole aim to quench its hunger with anything living weigh differently on each of the characters, adding real human qualities with which the reader can connect.I also like that Moody mixes the side story of the characters from the first novel, having them cross paths with this new set of characters makes this apocalyptic world even more believable. It will be interesting to read how the two different sets of characters interact in the next book.Oh, and not once is the word "zombie" used, but the reader still understands exactly what the survivors are up against."Autumn: The City" is a fast-paced, compelling story, another great addition to the zombie genre.
justabookreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Donna Yorke is reporting for the early shift at her office when her colleague is overcome by a strange coughing fit that quickly turns into a bloody, choking convulsion killing her in minutes. After trying unsuccessfully to help several colleagues and friends in the office experiencing the same symptoms, she moves the bodies to a far off section of the office not wanting to look at her dead co-workers. Afraid to leave not knowing what she¿ll face outside, Donna gathers supplies and holds up in her small office with a sleeping bag, some snacks from the vending machine, and a flashlight to ward off the dark.On the other side of the city, Jack Baxter is hiding in his home when he makes the fateful decision to leave his refuge in the hope of finding other survivors. He finds one; a young girl named Clare who lost her parents to the disease. Together they make their way into the city center and after spending a comfortable night in a department store, they make a gruesome discovery --- the corpses are moving around, awkwardly, but they¿re moving on their own. When Jack and Clare hear a car they track it down hoping to find others like themselves. Not only do they find two survivors but are told there is a group of about fifty people living at the local university.The university has become a beacon for not only survivors but the dead who surround the place. Drawn to the living, the re-animated corpses flock to the university, and at first are calm almost unaware of the living walking among them but that soon changes. In a few short days, the rather sedate corpses become violent, attacking survivors venturing out and stalking out places where the living are congregating.Soon after, a soldier left behind after a failed mission into the city joins up with the university group. Knowing food supplies are running low, a decision is made by the survivors to make their way to the military base in the hope of finding supplies and other survivors. What they don¿t count on is how the dead will react to the plan.I wasn¿t sure if I should refer to this book as apocalypse or zombie fiction. As far as the survivors are concerned, it¿s the end of the world they knew. Then again, it¿s also a story full of the walking dead; although I was appreciative of the fact Moody doesn¿t mention the word zombie anywhere in the book. Reminding me of Richard Matheson¿s I Am Legend, Moody manages to evoke a loneliness that feels surprising real slowly introducing us to each survivor along the way. One thing he doesn¿t do is get bogged down in details and in a way it¿s refreshing. Why should I know what¿s going on when none of the survivors do? Some might find that annoying but in this book, I enjoyed the sense of lawlessness and the unknown Moody created and he didn¿t deviate which can be so tempting in a story like this one. Leaving the reader with very little knowledge made it interesting to imagine what would have caused the metamorphosis.This isn¿t a book for everyone. While it¿s not gross or disgusting, quite restrained actually, it¿s not something you read at lunch either. And it does have a few scenes that reminded me of a popular zombie movie but if you¿re willing to look past those small bits, Autumn: The City is a fast and entertaining read.Autumn: The City is the second book in the Autumn series.
Steelyshan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Part two of the Autumn series, The City is another nightmare inducing book.. It is very dark and scary, and the feeling of being the minority left on the earth is very real. This book follows a different group of survivors that experienced the apocolyptic event while in the city. While everyone else is dying the same horrible, painful deaths, the people who dont die have to stop greiving and try to live. Easier said than done when a short time later the dead begin to walk, then start to become aggressive. After the survivors find each other and band together, they decide to leave the city. They eventually cross paths with some of the survivors from the suburbs from book one. A must-read for any zombie or apocalypse lover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So so read... there are better and there is absolutely worse in the genre.
daredevil7442 More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure why I write reviews for Nook books, it seems as though all my reviews are removed. Autumn The City is a great book and the Autumn series is fantastic and I enjoyed all 6 books. The books are very short so, keep this in mind and don't be let down that these books are short or about 3 hours or so of reading. To be honest, series should consist or be condensed into 2 books of value and not 6 books of overvalue. So, the Autumn series is well written and detailed oriented, this is not a super fast moving story but, rather a slower, deep thought story with a lot of detail and I enjoy this type of writing so, good stuff as far as I'm concerned. The author really makes you feel connected to the characters and their situations. Just remember, these are short books or averages around 235 pages, not much reading material.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up Autumn: the City without realizing that it was the second in a series of five. I knew David Moody from the Hater series, and knew that lots of people knew him from Autumn. Honestly, the way this book is written, it could’ve been the first book in the series—and I was honestly surprised it wasn’t!  David creates realistic characters—people dealing with real life problems. And what I found interesting about the characters in Autumn: the City was that I felt like I knew them to the extent that the other characters in the series knew them. We weren’t given much extra information about the characters, and, for me, it made me feel like I was actually there, in the city. I knew no more than anyone else did—I was no god above these characters. I was there, experiencing every tension. I can’t say much about the rest of the Autumn series, as I haven’t read it, but I can certainly tell you that this book is what I would consider a perfect zombie novel. You follow the change of the zombies, from their first death, through their (surprising!) evolution, until they (possibly) get hit by a car, or even just shamble off into the distance. You meet a variety of characters that are so real, you feel like you’ve actually met them once or twice in life. They’re dealing with actual problems and thinking actual thoughts. There is no Superman. These are normal people dealing with an abnormal situation, and I loved every minute of it.  This book provided a perfect snapshot into the lives of these people and, while it was short, I didn’t feel deprived of anything. Honestly, it’s a quick read—and a good one, too! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
although they never use the word it is a zombie book. Just bought book 3 so I can find out how this all happened. kind of a cool take on zombies with there being no biting but when it cimes to my zombies im usually a traditionalist so no bite no infection wondering how they will explain it. none the less good afternoon read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Character development was seriously lacking. So much so that none of them stuck with me. If i put the book down for too long, i would have to flip back to find out who was who. I didn't care a bit if they all died.
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Mindy_Lou More than 1 year ago
Good Book.. I was excitied going into this book and while it was not a BAD book it was just a different writing then the other one was.. The first one was all about one group of surviors while this one kept jumping through different parts of the book.. IDK I do think it was good over all I like the writing style of the author.. I really like Cooper being introduced into the story.. I am having my doubts where the military is getting involved in this story.. Guess I will have to read the next one to see what happens.. lol.. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is not one attack in this book.......literally not one character is harmed by a zombie. I read the first one and even sought out the horrible movie. The second book is 250 pages of absolutely nothing happening. There are whole chapters dedicated to the discription of what can best be discribed as non-events, occurrences which add nothing to character or story arc.10-15 pages to say "then this happened". The writing is overly simplistic, the characters border on functional retardation, the timeline and introduction of new people and places is enough to cause aneurisms from sheer frustration and then NOTHING HAPPENS.I am not a jaded fanboy, I am an avid reader who happens to be a discerning fan of the genre and being such I am generally reluctant to label ANYTHING of ANY artistic merit simply "bad". This book was bad. I would have gladly paid ten dollars to the writer of an honest review that would have precluded my ingesting this unabashed waste of time (mine), money (was mine), and doubious effort (author's).