Rhys Thomas’ ON THE THIRD DAY is a philosophical meditation on death wrapped in a viral apocalypse in which the victims suffer from existential dementia and often become violent, attacking others. I really enjoyed this one; it goes way beyond the standard formula for an end of the world novel. The people inhabiting the book are interesting and real, the book has a lived-in feel, the ruminations on death are engaging (although kind of depressing), the action is interesting, and the apocalypse is realistically portrayed in stages, with most people trying to cooperate instead of instantly forming raging biker gangs. My only complaint was the narrative loses its way at the end–there is an intentional effort by the author here (to what I can’t say to avoid a spoiler), but it didn’t work for me. That is a small complaint, however, that otherwise did not dampen my enjoyment of this rich, imaginative novel.