The Pharmacist

The Pharmacist



In the end, very few people made it to the bunker. Now they wait there for the outside world to heal. Wolfe is one of the lucky ones. She's safe and employed as the bunker's pharmacist, doling out medicine under the watchful eye of their increasingly erratic and paranoid leader.


But when the leader starts to ask things of Wolfe, favours she can hardly say no to, it seems her luck is running out. Forming an unlikely alliance with the young Doctor Stirling, her troubled assistant Levitt, and Canavan - a tattooed giant of a man who's purpose in the bunker is a mystery - Wolfe must navigate the powder keg of life underground where one misstep will light the fuse. The walls that keep her safe also have her trapped.

How much more is Wolfe willing to give to stay alive?

Our Review

The Pharmacist is an excellent example of speculative fiction and a must-read for 2022. Admittedly, this is the exact type of book I love to read. I am a sucker for dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction and The Pharmacist gave me heavy Margaret Atwood vibes. 

Wolfe and a handful of other survivors are existing in a bunker whilst they wait for the world to heal. Wolfe has a job as a pharmacist in one of the two pharmacies within the confines of the bunker and this offers her a certain amount of secuirty. Then an incident occurs and Wolfe finds herself beholden to their increasingly erratic leader. 

The Pharmacist has a claustraphobic feel to it and as the tension builds the reader can feel how Wolfe would feel trapped and might consider to extreme actions. From the beginning the reader is prepared for the bleak nature of the book when Wolfe is called to the aid of a suicide attempt gone wrong. 

"There was no shock left in watching someone atttempt a suicide but I was struck by Templeton's originality, impressed even. I doubt it would be something I would be capable of. My whole life has been made up of these moments - envious of other people's convictions. I felt feeble in comparison." 

The Pharmacist is very much a character driven narrative and I was intrigued to see Wolfe through her interactions with others. In particular, he interactions with the leader ND. Their relationship reminded me very much of the relationship between Offred and the commander in The Handmaid's Tale because it is all about an imbalance of power. Everything is a power play; the food he gives her, the films he allows her to watch, and the use of her former name. 

"Ms Wolfe...Sarah. May I call you Sarah? The Sa was booming, like singing a song but the rah was long and elongated, like being called out from a distance and I didn't like it.; didn't want to be spoken to with a name that my loved ones had used so tenderly. I wanted it to stay dead with them. I would prefer Wolfe, I said." 

We know that only a select number were allowed into the bunker and that the vulnerable elderly and small children were excluded. We learn that inclusion into the bunker was not necessarily done on any benefit. 

"The country's best minds huddled together - but in reality it was mostly populated by politicans and bankers, the odd media mogul thrown in for good measure. They had enough money and influence to protect themselves and their loved one, but there was nothing particularly special or impressive about any of them." 

The Pharmacist makes us question our own moral compass and what we would do to survive in extreme circumstances. Read and imagine what would you do to survive?


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4.5/5

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