In Bottari’s debut dystopian thriller set in the near future, the American government initiates a directive to take total control of the country.
U.S. Army Col. Nick Fizer is ready to enjoy a little rest and relaxation with his wife, Stephy, at his parents’ West Virginia farm. However, he’s understandably concerned when he learns that the government’s been trying to seize the property. It turns out that taking ownership of private land is just one goal of the Olympus Project Strategic Execution and Implementation Manifesto Directive, a classified government document signed back in 1901. Nick is one of the few people who’s read it, and he knows that Phase I of the Olympus Project has likely begun. He’s likewise aware that Phase II, which entails military mobilization, is all set to go, with United Nations peacekeeping forces stationed in secret underground compounds. As a precaution, Nick and his family head to Alaska, which he believes may be a safe haven from the implementation of martial law. Bottari’s novel is epic in scale, focusing on numerous characters around the United States, including a widow named Miriam and her two young kids in Alaska; a recently promoted Army colonel, Falcon Colby, on his first assignment with the Department of Defense’s Regional Operations Command; and Russian soldier Malikov, who’s serving with the U.N. peacekeeping forces when he’s arrested for killing an American officer. The stories are each distinctive, but they all relate to the overarching plot of the OPSEIM Directive. Miriam and her children, for instance, brave a freak August blizzard that may be the result of the government manipulating the weather. The book, the first in a planned series, sometimes feels more like a lengthy introduction; for example, several characters spend pages speculating about what’s to come in lieu of any of it actually happening, and much of the story, including the officer’s murder, remains unresolved. But Bottari does know how to effectively tease readers, as she merely hints at the details of the directive, leaving Phase III a pure mystery. The author’s prose, too, is playful and intoxicating, such as her description of a blistering storm: “the deep biting cold that stiffened his brittle bones, and the snow that stung his flesh.”
An ambitious thriller that will excite and inspire readers to seek out forthcoming books in the series.