“Without Warning” By John Birmingham
American armed forces are massed in Kuwait in preparation for the invasion of Iraq when news reach field commanders that a force-field of unknown origin, in the form of a energy cloud has descended on the North American continent. Most of Canada, Mexico and all but the western city of Seattle and the states of Alaska and Hawaii are rendered immobile. Further inspection from close quarters, via drone flights show that all living creatures in the cloud are dead, the bodies evaporated as in a demonic rapture.
Five million Americans are left rudderless around the world as the Arab countries dance in the streets now that the Great Satan is leaderless. As the word spreads about the loss of American leadership, the world is affected by its own struggles for power. South American dictatorships take control of the Panama Canal to control shipping of oil and supplies, engaging in war with combined U.S. and Cuban forces off of Guantanamo Bay, as Australia and New Zealand prepare to take in American refugees that can make it to their shores. Israel uses nuclear weapons to maintain control in the Middle East, France is in the midst of a civil war, with several terrorist factions roaming Paris, picking off all-comers and England becomes a prison camp in an effort to cleanse the country of the ethnic groups that have supported terrorism in the Middle East.
John Birmingham’s protagonist is America, everywhere it can be found. Starting from the journalist embedded with the armed forces in Kuwait to the city engineer trying to keep the lights on in Seattle. And continuing on with the covert agent in mid-mission in the streets of Paris, to the general cut off from reinforcements in Cuba and the gun-runner, off-shore in his yacht and to the Texas lawyer vacationing in Hawaii. As the story moves towards its thrilling, inevitable showdown, each member of the protagonist force has an influence on the outcome of tomorrow’s world.
The conflict and tension on every page escalate in such a powerful way that they provide the type of rising action that will keep you spellbound through to the final word. Sit back and ride the bumpy rollercoaster as thrill after spill brings fear, revulsion, outrage and relief to your shell-shocked system.
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