I am going to start this with a warning: you have to make sure that you have something to drink by you. Honestly. I didn't yesterday and I really did feel as desperate as Eddie and Laura - it was very bizarre.

Thirst has an exploration of the sense of community and human mind which is very frightening. How far would you go to survive? Would you kill someone if it meant that you had the chance of survival?

We never really know what catastrophe has occurred, there are rumours and suppositions but whatever devastating explosion it was, it causes even the streams and rivers to dry up. There is only one fire-fighter who appears fleetingly in the middle of the novel to help, so people are on their own. Stores are looted and a general air of utter hopelessness soon descends. I think it's okay to say that without giving too much away.

It was at times, no not even at times, it was, very uncomfortable to read; it made me so on edge. It opens with a sense of frustration, that these people have been inconvenienced in their journeys home, pretty much how it happens on a not-irregular basis. Underlying the beginning though is the expectation that things will be okay because help will arrive in the shape of emergency crews. This not unreasonable expectation then turns to hope, and then finally to the anguished realisation that no-one is going to help them.

It is this desperation which Benjamin Warner has managed to portray so successfully that I felt I was in the middle of this horror with all these people. I was tricked into believing in this existence, with the same knot of defeatism in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps it's because Eddie and Laura have only lived in their neighbourhood for five years, or perhaps because they didn't fully enter into the spirit of community, that events unfold the way they do. Or perhaps it was inevitable, that at heart people are only concerned for themselves and their own well-being. Would things have happened as they did if people had really worked together rather than trying to fulfil only their own needs. Certainly I wished Eddie hadn't done some of things he did quite selfishly to ensure his own survival. Perhaps if he hadn't the story could have been different for himself and his neighbours.

The writing, obviously, is tremendously successful in transporting you into the story. It made me feel claustrophobic in the heat of the setting, unnerved and untrusting of the other characters in the story, and it conveyed the desperate need to survive. Not a word was wasted.

This is a tremendous novel, utterly engrossing and atmospheric. Please read it, it's brilliant.