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Posted September 11, 2011
Thank God it's fiction.for now.
Robert Gleason's END OF DAYS is a chilling (and thankfully fictitious account) of the cataclysmic end of the world, and the resulting struggle for mankind's survival. It is interesting, shocking, violent, scary and entertaining all at the same time. It does however need more polish before I would categorize it as "good."
The old Soviet Union's nuclear weapons are available for the taking, either on the black market or just by stealing them from the hundreds of unguarded, unsecure storage sites throughout the world. Some fear that this will lead to a worldwide proliferation of nukes, and begin to prepare for Armageddon while trying to convince others that the end is coming. The doomsday prophecies come true when suitcase nuclear weapons are detonated at the same time as "Russian" subs begin launching nuclear cruise missiles at major cities all over the world. The rest of the world immediately begs the US to lead a response before it's too late, but the acting US president (much of the National Command Authority was killed when Washington DC was nuked) is weak and won't respond. Nuclear explosions continue to rock the world, and eventually the US military acts without authority and responds with nuclear strikes of its own. By the time it comes to light that the Russians were framed by a small middle-eastern country, the Motherland's major cities are already glowing with nuclear fallout. The world plunges into chaos.
In the United States, militias bond together for survival, as do large numbers of convicts now free from their incarceration (and who for some reason have been preparing for this very moment). Eventually their ranks grow to the tens of thousands, and they too have liberated nuclear weapons. It seems the killing isn't over.
Those are the books more chillingly believable parts. A number of of interesting story lines are developed, but probably one too many for a truly coherent story. In addition to a beautiful reporter who seems to be trying to get herself killed to prove her worth to her billionaire-Armageddonist mother, there is the white supremacist, the Mexican gang leader, and a reborn Malcolm X. There are two generals, a space station, an AI presence that can see all, and several rats that seem to speak with each other as if they went to the Ivy League. Through in a pair of sex-crazed sisters who are insatiable both in their lust for sex and torture, and things start to get a little less "real."
Finally, the climax involves three heroes who were once on the NY Yankees as the team won six consecutive championships before they went their separate ways. One became a Pulitzer winning journalist; one a drug dealer serving three consecutive life sentences, and one an Air Force General. They meet up again just in time to prevent the bad guys from nuking mankind's best hope to rebuild. Now we are into pure entertainment.
Overall, it was an entertaining read, though a bit on the long-winded side at 490+ pages. There's plenty of foul language, sexuality, torture, violence, blood, animal cruelty, suffering and despair. There is also some dark humor, some likeable characters, and enough discussion of Armageddon to at least make you think about it.
Not a waste of time, but probably not award winning material either.
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Posted December 6, 2011
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