The speculative setting for DuBois's latest (after Shattered Shell, p. 106, etc.) is the world after the Cuban missile crisis got resolved the hard way. Turning from touristy Tyler Beach, New Hampshire, and his Lewis Cole series, the author focuses on a landscape bleaker in every respect. It's l972, ten years after the Russians, with nuclear warheads based in Cuba, took out New York, Washington, D.C., and a lengthy list of other significant American cities. In return, the US took out the Soviet Union—all of it. Untold millions have been killed, including President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and most of the Cabinet. The once-great Western power has been reduced to second-class status. In fact, had it not been for British aid during this painful decade, the nation would surely have starved. Carl Landry, a former serviceman who's now a reporter for the Boston Globe, understands how much is owed the English cousins, but he finds himself in a complex situation. Following up on what at first seems like a commonplace burglary-murder, he soon senses a cover-up. As he tracks the story for his paper, Carl learns that there may be an Anglophile conspiracy afoot, a plot that if successful would convert, or rather reconvert, the States into a British colony. Powerful interests wanted the dead man silenced, and before long, it becomes obvious that these same interests plan a similar fate for Carl. In the meantime, laudable efforts are going forward to rebuild what the bombing destroyed, and as climactic Resurrection Day approaches, the battle lines are drawn in the approved suspense fiction manner: black-hearted forces of evil on one side, simon- pure forces of good on the other. DuBois's version of life after limited nuclear war has some clever constructs, but turgid pacing and threadbare characterization reduce a promising what-if to so-so.
Read full book review >