The Three is documentary style book written as a compilation of extracts from other publications, interviews with witnesses and even online chat sessions.
The starting plot point of the book is that on Black Thursday, 12 January 2012, four passenger aircraft crash almost simultaneously in different parts of the world. On three of the four planes there is a single survivor, in each case a child. And in each case the child emerges with a changed personality.
The book relates the events that happen around the world in the weeks and months after Black Thursday. The three children go back to live with relatives and the search is on for a possible fourth child that may have survived the South African crash and then got lost in the confusion.
An added complication is the discovery of a mobile phone recording made by an American passenger on the Japanese plane. It suggests something is not right with the surviving boy on that flight and this is seized on by the passenger’s pastor back in the USA who becomes convinced that the (presumably) four children are actually the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This in turn gains him notoriety and a share of the media attention surrounding The Three.
The book presents the events subjectively as all the content is from the point of view of characters who are directly or indirectly in contact with the children or the pastor. There is a strong suggestion that the children have indeed been changed through some supernatural means, but there is still room to doubt the interpretations of the witnesses. The reader is allowed to come to their own conclusions before the final reveal. There is an effective sense of dread built up from reading the progression of documents and interviews that have been collated by the fictional author Elspeth Martins.
The Three came out on 22 May in hardback from Hodder books who kindly supplied a review copy. Well worth a look if you like a supernatural-tinged mystery.