The final entry of Barnes’ near-future apocalypse trilogy (Daybreak Zero, 2011, etc.).
The stunning premise here is that a hostile and malevolent entity known as Daybreak has deployed biological weapons that destroy oil and oil-based products, fusion bombs and EMP bombs that wreck electronic devices and components, apparently with the purpose of obliterating technology. Many of the survivors, their minds controlled by Daybreak, have formed weird, anti-technology tribes eager to mount appalling, zombielike assaults against fortified positions. A few scattered, still-sane communities, using biplanes, black powder and steam trains, struggle to reinstate law and order and reconstitute some sort of U.S. government. Only then can humanity rebuild its shattered civilization—at least, so reasons Heather O’Grainne and her small community operating out of Pueblo, Colo. Other groups, in Athens, Ga., what’s left of New York, the U.S. Virgin Islands, San Diego and what seems like dozens of other locations, have similar ambitions, while still others have independently found ways to resist Daybreak and have set themselves up as feudal lords. Daybreak itself, however, remains an enigma, since those that try to study it closely risk being subverted. There is a fair quota of action, often involving brave defenders attempting to resist ravening zombies in human-wave assaults. But again, the cast of thousands, incessant scene shifts and sheer density of the narrative makes for tough going. Nevertheless, the story inches toward a conclusion.
Fans of the previous entries will keep reading.