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WITHOUT WARNING by John Birmingham


by John Birmingham

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-345-50289-6
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Birmingham (Final Impact, 2007, etc.) begins a new apocalyptic science-fiction trilogy.

In 2003, as U.S. forces gather to invade Iraq, a teardrop-shaped field engulfs most of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba. Inside the field, animals and people are reduced to puddles of goo. After this desperately hard-to-swallow event, the author follows the adventures of a select group of individuals. In Seattle, the only U.S. metropolis outside the zone of death, city engineer James Kipper struggles to maintain order and essential services against terrified rioters and a threatened army coup. In Hawaii, Admiral James Ritchie marshals the largest surviving concentration of American naval power against—what? In Guantanamo, General Tusk Musso finds himself cooperating with what’s left of Cuba’s army. At Coalition headquarters in Qatar, army journalist Bret Melton struggles to understand what’s happened and fears what might come. In Paris, secret agent and assassin Caitlin Monroe wakes, bewildered, in a hospital, to find that her jihadi-terrorist target has vanished and she has developed a brain tumor. In the Pacific, Pete Holder’s cheerful band of smugglers board the vast, opulent, now-deserted yacht of Aussie golf legend Greg Norman and wonder how to keep what they’ve grabbed while surviving attacks by pirates and renegade Peruvians. The situation deteriorates rapidly: Israel unleashes its nukes; France succumbs to a fifth-column–inspired civil war; Britain barricades itself; and what's left of America considers how to choose a new chief executive and survive with dignity—but above all, survive. The implicit assumption is that humanity's worst instincts will surface.

Narrated with crisp, fluid expertise, Birmingham's ultrabloody and violent yarn exerts a dreadful, morbid fascination. Three volumes of this should satisfy the most avid cravings.