Directive 51 (Daybreak Series #1)

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View our feature on John Barnes’s Directive 51.

The first book in a new post-apocalyptic trilogy from "a master of the genre"

Heather O'Grainne is the Assistant Secretary in the Office of Future Threat Assessment, investigating rumors surrounding something called "Daybreak." The group is diverse and radical, and its members have only one thing in common-their hatred for the "Big System" and their desire to ...

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Directive 51 (Daybreak Series #1)

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Overview

View our feature on John Barnes’s Directive 51.

The first book in a new post-apocalyptic trilogy from "a master of the genre"

Heather O'Grainne is the Assistant Secretary in the Office of Future Threat Assessment, investigating rumors surrounding something called "Daybreak." The group is diverse and radical, and its members have only one thing in common-their hatred for the "Big System" and their desire to take it down.

Now, seemingly random events simultaneously occurring around the world are in fact connected as part of Daybreak's plan to destroy modern civilization-a plan that will eliminate America's top government personnel, leaving the nation no choice but to implement its emergency contingency program...Directive 51.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Daybreak"--an assault against modern civilization conceived and developed through the Internet--has begun. As plastics and other petroleum products deteriorate and bring the world crashing down, Heather O'Grainne, of the U.S. Office of Future Threat Assessment, is a leader in the government's efforts to stabilize the remnants of American society and prevent total anarchy. It's a sprawling and provocative apocalyptic epic improved by Susan Ericksen's riveting performance. Ericksen (whose voice will be familiar to J.D. Robb fans) sustains the suspense and produces believable regional accents and multicultural and generational characters. An Ace hardcover. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441018222
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Series: Daybreak Series , #1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John Barnes is a multiple Hugo and Nebula award nominee and the author of The Return with Buzz Aldrin. He lives in Colorado.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 59 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 59 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Directive 51 is a fascinating near future thriller

    In 2007, National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 51 was signed to allow the executive branch to claim extraordinary power during a catastrophe. A couple of decades after the announcement of NSPD 51, the Office of Future Threat Assessment Assistant Secretary Heather O'Grainne leads an inquiry into a potential homegrown terrorist cell, Daybreak. The vision of this diverse group is the destruction of the Big System that each member believes destroyed the American way of life.

    Rumors about the group has O'Grainne panicking as apparently Daybreak possesses the nanotechnology to destroy two centuries of technology. Around the globe catastrophes occur leaving billions dead and American going backward in technology. With the government failing faster than society is, NSPD 51 is implemented, but perhaps too late as the two spirals of death and technological collapse continues unabated.

    Directive 51 is a fascinating near future thriller that looks deep into what would happen if modern day technology somewhat predicted where we would be in twenty years or so suddenly stopped working and reverted back to the early nineteenth century. The frantic effort to prevent the collapse of the world seems too little and too late as the Feds work at a snail's pace while the Daybreak antiterrorists move out faster than the speed of light. Although the story line adopts too easily Stalin's alleged commentary that "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic", fans will enjoy this cautionary tale that proclaims that sometimes you get what you wish for.

    Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2013

    After the disaster, Good read,Ppolitical thriller

    Good enough to make me want to read the follow up.
    Well imagined succession crisis.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    First book of two

    This is the first book, the second is DAYBREAK ZERO. Actually, I read Daybteak first. This book is very detailed and the author does a great job with developing the main characters and setting the stage for Daybreak. It can get a little boring at times, but all of this will make sense when you read the next one (things move pretty fast, and all this info is relevant).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    It's the End of the World As We Know It ... or So We Thought

    We share a certain inescapable curiosity when it comes to "end times" fiction, and I think this is largely because we've always shared the ability to ponder such a fundamentally simple premise as "What if .?" We could be considering almost anything - much like George Bailey did when he wondered what life would've been like for others if he'd never been born in the movie, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - and it's a universal experience to apply the same filter to our lives in times of stress and tumult. John Barnes' novel, DIRECTIVE 51, probes the depths of the 'what if' scenario as it applies to throwing civilization culturally and technologically back about 100 years in development. In short, Daybreakers - a kind of faceless cult of zealots tired of civilization's progress - launch a series of world-wide terror attacks (airborne toxins that break down plastics and other materials) with hopes of throwing mankind back into the Stone Age. However, their game-plan gets notched up a few pegs on the terrorism headboard when real terrorists seize upon the opportunity to also detonate nuclear fusion bombs around the world, further exacerbating any government's ability to mount a suitable defense. Before you can say "Jack Bauer," America - the principle setting for DIRECTIVE 51 - is in chaos with Washington DC destroyed, citizens looting in the streets, and average folks fighting for their very survival against even the most basic elements of Mother Nature. Unable to fend for themselves, entire cities burn to the ground, police and tactical units fall into disarray, and the outlook is, indeed, nothing but grim. And THAT's only the Daybreakers' first salvo! DIRECTIVE 51 is serious stuff, probably not intended for the lightweight or casual science fiction reader. It isn't about any type of Biblical prophecy coming to fruition so much as it is a parable for contemporary disenfranchisement with man's tremulous position within the world of technology overload . or is that overkill? The "Directive 51" (referenced in the title) is the factual Presidential order that sets procedures in place for dealing with continuity-of-government at a time when the functioning 'head' (so to speak) has been decapitated. That's where this novel works best . not so much as a scientific thriller (though I've no doubt that Barnes knows his stuff so far as the technology presented here goes) but moreso as a political 'what if' postulating how a nation state adjusts to circumstances further crippling the ability to maintain order. Some of these moments in political posturing perhaps don't play out as well as they could have, but such is the nature of events in a tightly constructed world of fiction; in DIRECTIVE 51, events spur folks to action - not such much their core values, which may need to be comprised for the greater good - and I found some of the developments little more than political posturing on the part of a non-politician. Doesn't mean they couldn't happen. Just didn't seem to mesh with what I particularly believe could've happened. It's a subtle difference, but it's one that impacted my ability to fully enjoy the tale. Regardless of the meaty subject matter, I found entire sections of DIRECTIVE 51 difficult reading, but this was for all of the wrong reasons. Sadly, I failed to connect with most of these characters, and it seems like there are, literally, hundreds of them. Granted, some of them are more incidental and not nece

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2012

    Rightwing drivel

    The premise is fine but the writing is terrible. You will find yourself skipping page after page of pointless details trying to find the story until you give up and post a review like this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Unbelievable...

    And not in a good way. I found myself trying to forgive the logical holes in the plot, but they were too numerous to ignore. I quit reading after 50 pages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Enjoyable reading

    Good book and a good read. The story jumps a little at times as events spiral out of control. Sometimes it is hard to know what is happening but still the book was enjoyable.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    Very good read

    I can see this happening

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    Maybe I missed something!

    After checking out the other reviews I was expecting a taught interesting story. What I found was a rambling story sometimes interesting and sometimes painfully dull. Unfortunately the good parts were outweighed by the bad. The triology ends here for this reader.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    Great book

    Great book, with excellent character and plot development. My first with this author, but certainly not my last.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Fascinating and scary...it could happen all to easily.  Recommen

    Fascinating and scary...it could happen all to easily.  Recommend highly.

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  • Posted May 11, 2014

    Disappointing, to say the least I purchased this novel expecting

    Disappointing, to say the least
    I purchased this novel expecting another disaster story along the lines of the excellent "Mother of Storms"; what I got was a little of that and a lot of musing on Presidential succession in the event of the catastrophic loss of all upper levels of government. The Directive 51 of the title is a document outlining how that succession might occur. The fact that it is also the title of this book indicates what Barnes's main interest was in the writing of this first, and hopefully last, work of bureaucratic speculative fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

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    Posted October 2, 2011

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    Posted January 12, 2012

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    Posted April 30, 2011

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    Posted July 2, 2014

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    Posted August 23, 2011

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    Posted June 27, 2011

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    Posted April 24, 2011

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