A giant asteroid’s on a collision course with Earth.
Mild-mannered scientist Professor Sheppard is abducted in the middle of the night and brought to a supersecret facility where other scientific and mathematical great minds—all having supposedly died of unrelated medical problems and mishaps within the past months—have been sequestered to solve the problem of the planet-destroying asteroid. A few years later, the similar abduction of billionaire genius Joshua Fitchett is thwarted by his private security, and he goes public about the doomsday asteroid. Sixteen years further on—one year until predicted impact—civilization’s in tatters. Some accept imminent death and live lawlessly; some hope a Hail Mary from Sheppard and the scientists will save them; some join a popular religious movement that believes in thwarting the Devil-serving scientists who are trying to stop God’s plan. While mentioned, violence isn’t graphic. Meanwhile, street kid Billy civilizes a large gang, drawing the attention of another mysterious group. The steady march to potential annihilation is punctuated by attempts to save or doom Earth. A third-person omniscient viewpoint and straightforward voice keep the numerous characters and plotlines organized. Narrative tension stems from not knowing whether the scientists will succeed, the warring philosophies of transparency and secrecy, and hope vs. pragmatism and cynicism. The cliffhanger demands a sequel.
A theme-packed pre-apocalyptic story for ideas-loving readers. (Science fiction. 12-16)