Worth a try for fans of the genre, but start with Book 1, Journey into the Flame.


From the Rising World Trilogy series , Vol. 2

The unexciting middle installment in the author’s Rising World trilogy.

The Great Disruption of 2027 tilted the Earth’s axis by 4 degrees, unleashing massive death and destruction. In 2030, the survivors must deal with aftereffects such as widespread illness and earthquakes that lack epicenters. Can humanity make a comeback? “The Rising is over,” a character states. “Now we must see if the wager on mankind was well placed….Even the simple act of loving someone is risky.” Key to the Earth’s recovery are the Chronicles of Satraya and learning how to “unearth the secret of free energy.” Bad People will kill to control the Chronicles, which dispense such wisdom as “Mind is Mind.” Pyramids will generate electricity, a fact known to the ancient Egyptians. Exactly how the ancients used that power is not obvious, but no matter. Much is made of the real-life Nicola Tesla’s experiments with electricity, which helps cover the story’s flapdoodle with a veneer of science. For example, there are three kinds of resonances mentioned that turn out to be real, like the Schumann resonance—is the Earth out of tune? The characters are straightforward with the notable exception(s) of doctors Josef and Rosa, mixed-gender twins conjoined at the head. They have one superhigh-IQ brain between them and routinely finish each other’s sentences. They might be the worst character concept inflicted on innocent readers in many a yarn, but kudos to the author for daring to try. In the end, though, it’s an imaginative book with elements of science fiction, futurism and fantasy. The pace and storytelling are good, and the author makes effective use of Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream. The ending sets up the series finale, with more foul deeds afoot.

Worth a try for fans of the genre, but start with Book 1, Journey into the Flame.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1341-0

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and...


This future space fantasy might start an underground craze.

It feeds on the shades of Edgar Rice Burroughs (the Martian series), Aeschylus, Christ and J.R. Tolkien. The novel has a closed system of internal cross-references, and features a glossary, maps and appendices dealing with future religions and ecology. Dune itself is a desert planet where a certain spice liquor is mined in the sands; the spice is a supremely addictive narcotic and control of its distribution means control of the universe. This at a future time when the human race has reached a point of intellectual stagnation. What is needed is a Messiah. That's our hero, called variously Paul, then Muad'Dib (the One Who Points the Way), then Kwisatz Haderach (the space-time Messiah). Paul, who is a member of the House of Atreides (!), suddenly blooms in his middle teens with an ability to read the future and the reader too will be fascinated with the outcome of this projection.

With its bug-eyed monsters, one might think Dune was written thirty years ago; it has a fantastically complex schemata and it should interest advanced sci-fi devotees.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0441013597

Page Count: 411

Publisher: Chilton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1965

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