As civilization collapses, a group hiding in a mental institution holds the keys to the future, in the latest from Strieber (2012, 2007, etc.).
As the Earth makes its way through the detritus of a supernova following Dec. 21, 2012, the day allegedly identified by the Mayan calendar as the end of the world, massive amounts of solar activity wreak havoc on the world’s electrical systems, resulting in spotty access to power, transportation and other things the human race has come to depend upon. In the midst of all this chaos, David Ford gets a job as chief psychiatrist at the prestigious Acton Clinic. Soon after David arrives, he realizes that the clinic holds many secrets. For one thing, he is told of a class—one that David had attended as a child, although he no longer has any memory of it. David learns that many of the patients at the Clinic were also members of the class who have had their memories suppressed, either through selective amnesia or induced psychosis. Apparently, the class has a special role to fulfill as human civilization comes to an end, and David has a special role within the class. But how can he fulfill his destiny if he doesn’t remember what he needs to do? Meanwhile, Michael Graham, better known as Mack the Cat, has infiltrated the clinic, posing as a patient. A former CIA agent and ruthless killer, Mack has been sent by the Seven Families—elites holed up in well-defended redoubts around the world—to find out what’s happening at the Acton. On the outside, strange things, some dark and some wonderful, continue to unfold, as the world is thrust further and further into chaos and despair. The book’s theology—a weird mix of science, Mayan religion, the Book of Revelation and UFOs—reads like an incoherent hodgepodge. Worse, Strieber’s characters feel false, and his dialogue is uncomfortably awkward, occasionally dipping into the cartoonishly bad. And while one or two scenes in his post-apocalyptic vision strike eerie, haunting chords, far too many simply don’t ring true.
An incoherent mess.