Monday, November 24, 2008

Without Warning-John Birmingham

Without Warning
John Birmingham
Del Rey, Feb 2009, $26.00
ISBN: 9780345502896

In 2003, WITHOUT WARNING American military forces are preparing for Operation Desert Freedom deployment when an energy field that rises miles into the sky covers much of the forty-eight continental states, Canada, Mexico and Cuba like a thick blanket. Almost every animal life including humans trapped inside is dead; in almost seconds billions of Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, and Cubans are turned into ooze.

Around the globe there is shock and fear. The only major American city to survive the carnage is Seattle, which was fortunate to be outside the massive eradication zone. Still the emotional impact leaves the city and its burbs near collapse. City engineer James Kipper tries to deliver some semblance of civilization by keeping the essential support services working although rioting is common and the military consider martial law. In Hawaii, also outside the dead zone, Admiral James Ritchie leads the powerful American navy, but against no known enemy with no command and control beyond him. Israel considers nuking its Arab neighbors since the Americans no longer are there to require restraint. France has a civil war while Britain shuts down the islands. The aftermath is civilization around the world is rapidly deteriorating as ugly incidents are everywhere as only the deviously strong will survive.

The opening act of a world reacting to an apocalyptic disaster is fast-paced and filled with action as John Birmingham’s global nightmare shows the aftermath to what begins to happen when the superpower vanishes WITHOUT WARNING. Ironically with the biblical proportions of the catastrophe, Darwinism comes to mind as survival of the fittest means the previous Americanized rules of order no longer apply. Although this is the set up for first tale, fans will appreciate Mr. Birmingham’s deep dark saga of a world in radical change due to an unforeseen calamity that has survivors reeling for cover with differing reactions.

Harriet Klausner

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