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Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day

3.2 5
by Brendan DuBois

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"Everyone remembers exactly what they were doing the day President Kennedy tried to kill them."

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In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of the nuclear war. The crisis was averted, but what would have happened if war had broken out? In "Resurrection Day," award-winning author Brendan DuBois brings


"Everyone remembers exactly what they were doing the day President Kennedy tried to kill them."

• *

In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of the nuclear war. The crisis was averted, but what would have happened if war had broken out? In "Resurrection Day," award-winning author Brendan DuBois brings this horrific concept to life...

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New York Times bestselling author Lee Child: "'Resurrection Day' is the best 'what if' novel in years --- more clever and resonant than Robert Harris's 'Fatherland' --- and all the more scary because disaster was minutes away from happening for real. A book you'll read three times and keep on your shelves forever."

New York Times bestselling author William Martin: "What if the Russians had not blinked in October 1962? Brendan DuBois gives us the answer in this smart, suspenseful thriller, a frighteningly believable piece of alternative history. You'll be shocked on every page by a world so familiar in its details that the terrible changes seem commonplace. Brendan DuBois is a fine writer, at the top of his game."

Edgar-award winning author S.J. Rozan: "A convincing and terrifying look at an alternative history that could easily have been ours. DuBois's careful research and dark imagination weave together a story that you won't be able to put down --- and that you will be grateful is only fiction."


Publisher's Weekly (starred review): "In his first novel outside of his acclaimed Lewis Cole mystery series DuBois delivers an alternate-history thriller that deserves to be as popular as Robert Harris's 'Fatherland.' DuBois postulates an America that has been politically devastated by a nuclear exchange arising from the Cuban missile crisis... Cohesively plotted and smoothly written, steadily exciting and rife with clever conceits, this is what-if thriller fiction at its finest."

Booklist (starred review): "Like the best alternate-history fiction (Robert Harris' 'Fatherland' or the novels of Harry Turtledove), DuBois' tale is a feast for the mind, a what-if story that's so plausible it reads, at times, like nonfiction. In every way, this is a first-rate novel and one that is sure to appeal to a wide variety of readers."

Rocky Mountain News: "DuBois has done an extraordinary job of envisioning a world that might have been."

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Winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Alternative History Novel of the Year.

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With new Author's Afterward for the this edition.

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Cover art by Jeroen ten Berge.


Brendan DuBois of New Hampshire is the award-winning author of sixteen novels and more than 120 short stories.

His short fiction has appeared in Playboy, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and numerous other magazines and anthologies including "The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century," published in 2000 by Houghton-Mifflin. Another one of his short stories appeared in in "The Year's Best Science Fiction 22nd Annual Collection" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2005) edited by Gardner Dozois

His short stories have twice won him the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, and have also earned him three Edgar Allan Poe Award nominations from the Mystery Writers of America.

He is also a one-time "Jeopardy!" game show champion.

Visit his website at www.BrendanDuBois.com

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Mystery novelist Brendan DuBois makes a foray into the alternate timeline realm and gives us a gripping and chilling dark tale featuring Boston Globe reporter Carl Landry, who is on the trail of a government conspiracy. Somewhere between the gritty work of Andrew Vachss, the hard-boiled detective novels of Dennis Lehane, and the alternate history arena usually ruled by the likes of Harry Turtledove, Brendan DuBois has wedged himself firmly into the highest ranks of fine suspense writers and mined a fantasy noir niche all his own.

The time is 1972, ten years after the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into World War III. Russia has been all but obliterated, and many U.S. cities are no more than crater-strewn radioactive ruins. The U.S. relies on Great Britain for medical aid and food, and now exists in a state of martial law, with the government censoring all media. Kennedy and Johnson are presumed dead, although there's an underground of "true believers" who conclude that Kennedy is recovering from injury in a secret spot of safety and will soon rise to take command of a floundering America. The spray-painted words "he lives" can be found all across sides of buildings wherever one walks, but controlling the fate of America is the somewhat fascist General Curtis, who still wields military might.

Carl Landry, a former soldier who survived the worst of the war, is now a reporter with the Boston Globe. He's doing a story on murdered veteran Merl Sawson, a possibly unhinged man who swears he has an incredible story to tell Landry. Sawson gives only the vaguest suggestion that he's awareofthe true events that started the war back in '62. When Sawson is found with a couple of bullets in the back of his head, and Landry's editor at the Globe immediately spikes his story for "lack of space," Landry begins to suspect that perhaps Sawson actually did know something big. Soon he meets Sandra Price, a London Times reporter who is eager to do a story on America's present course, but who also oddly romanticizes the state of the country. Landry, who sees nothing romantic in the millions of dead and the U.S.'s weakened position in the world, freely speaks his belief that it's time that America stands or falls on its own, without European aid in any way. Together the two stumble deeper and deeper into various plots meant to keep their articles from print, and eventually they discover more bits and pieces of Sawson's conspiracy theories, which may not be so strange after all.

DuBois's attention to the seamy side of a bleak Boston is an irresistible draw; its ugly, perverse, yet sultry aspects bring new life to this war-torn city. As a soldier and a reporter who has seen it all, Landry knows the streets but still manages to hold to a particular code of honesty and good intent. Landry refuses to judge those around him, as he knows how difficult an existence this harsh life can be, and his willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt makes him something of a benefactor no matter what his official capacity is. The other primary characters, even those whose identities we aren't sure of at first, are all well developed and infused with their own idiosyncrasies.

DuBois knows how to build and nurture suspense, and the author refuses to allow any easy answers to come. The narrative passes and the mystery grows ever more convoluted and tangled, with secrets and conspiracies that reach to the upper echelons of world government.Resurrection Day keeps to a perfect blend of fact and fiction, giving us an alternate timeline that is readily believable and never falls into easy stock humor or retrospection. It would have been simple for DuBois to have made many 1970s fashion, music, or other social jokes to leaven the darkness inherent in the tale being told, but the author refuses to give in to such temptation. DuBois proves here that he is capable of turning out not only an excellent mystery novel but also a fantastic story that transcends the crime/spy/suspense/fantasy genres and works as a powerhouse novel that will leave the reader awestruck and panting for breath.

—Tom Piccirilli

Chicago Tribune
What if the Cuban missile crisis had actually led to nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union? It's an intriguing premise cleverly explored in this speculative-history thriller by mystery writer Brendan Dubois.
Midwest Book Review
Award winning author Brendan DuBois, author of the Lewis Cole mysteries, has written his best book to date, a tale that will be on everyone's top ten lists for 1999.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his first novel outside of his acclaimed Lewis Cole mystery series (Shattered Sand, Forecasts, Feb. 15, etc.), DuBois delivers an alternate-history thriller that deserves to be as popular as Robert Harris's Fatherland. DuBois postulates an America that has been politically devastated by a nuclear exchange arising from the Cuban missile crisis. It's now 1972. Washington, D.C., is a radioactive crater; Nelson Rockefeller is running for president against George McGovern; and Boston Globe reporter Carl Landry is investigating the shooting death of a 60-year-old retired serviceman. Warned off the story after it gets spiked by the military's in-house censor, and emboldened by Sandra Price, a beautiful reporter from the London Times, Landry keeps digging at Swenson's past. What he uncovers is the truth behind the rumors of what really happened in the White House as the missile crisis spun out of control--and evidence of an unholy alliance that is poised to reverse the course of American history. From cryptic references to post-bomb chaos in California to clever reworkings of '60s history (e.g., antidraft demonstrators chanting, "Hell, no, we won't glow!"), DuBois creates a sobering and imaginatively detailed vision of an America that has been crippled by tragedy--a nation where John F. Kennedy was not the King Arthur of Camelot but its Mordred, the man who brought down everything. One of DuBois's many brilliant touches is an underground of diehard Kennedy supporters who scrawl the graffiti "He Lives" on every available surface, because they believe that JFK was not only innocent, but is still alive and broadcasting from a pirate radio station. Cohesively plotted and smoothly written, steadily exciting and rife with clever conceits, this is what-if thriller fiction at its finest. Foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany and Holland. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
What if the Cuban missile crisis had escalated into a nuclear war? Using this as the basic premise, we find the U.S. ten years later. Parts of the country are uninhabitable, and everything is run by national security edicts. Carl Landry, a Boston Globe reporter, rapidly finds that an old veteran's murder is key to the nuclear disaster. It takes his dogged determination to ferret out the truth. As he does so, he deals with a lovely yet not-so-honest British reporter. He sees the devastation of Manhattan, and his faith in parts of his country is restored. This is an apocalyptic look at what could have easily occurred had the missile crisis been handled differently. It certainly makes one pause and will make for interesting discussion. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Berkley/Jove, 465p, 18cm, $7.50. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Robin S. Holab-Abelman; White Plains, NY January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
Library Journal
YA-A creative plot based on a fascinating premise. Imagine that the Bay of Pigs standoff had resulted in a Third World War. The USA and the USSR opened fired on one another with nuclear-armed warhead missiles. History, as we know it, is totally different. It is 10 years after the war, and the U.S., now a minor player in world affairs, is still struggling to pull itself together. The country remains under martial law, with the rights guaranteed in the Constitution a bitter joke to those faced with an enforced draft and censorship of all written material. When Carl Landry, newspaper reporter and veteran, investigates an old man's death, the military censor orders that he drop the story, but Carl continues to probe his sources. One by one, they mysteriously disappear. Full of twists and turns, this compelling novel grips readers from page one, picks up speed around the middle, and does not let go until the final page. Technology, world leaders, famous people, powers, and "rights" that are very much taken for granted are mentioned in passing, causing readers to stop and think about how the slightest change in history could unalterably affect the future.-Anita Short, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The speculative setting for DuBois's latest (after Shattered Shell, p. 106, etc.) is the world after the Cuban missile crisis got resolved the hard way. Turning from touristy Tyler Beach, New Hampshire, and his Lewis Cole series, the author focuses on a landscape bleaker in every respect. It's l972, ten years after the Russians, with nuclear warheads based in Cuba, took out New York, Washington, D.C., and a lengthy list of other significant American cities. In return, the US took out the Soviet Union—all of it. Untold millions have been killed, including President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and most of the Cabinet. The once-great Western power has been reduced to second-class status. In fact, had it not been for British aid during this painful decade, the nation would surely have starved. Carl Landry, a former serviceman who's now a reporter for the Boston Globe, understands how much is owed the English cousins, but he finds himself in a complex situation. Following up on what at first seems like a commonplace burglary-murder, he soon senses a cover-up. As he tracks the story for his paper, Carl learns that there may be an Anglophile conspiracy afoot, a plot that if successful would convert, or rather reconvert, the States into a British colony. Powerful interests wanted the dead man silenced, and before long, it becomes obvious that these same interests plan a similar fate for Carl. In the meantime, laudable efforts are going forward to rebuild what the bombing destroyed, and as climactic Resurrection Day approaches, the battle lines are drawn in the approved suspense fiction manner: black-hearted forces of evil on one side, simon-pure forces of good on the other.DuBois's version of life after limited nuclear war has some clever constructs, but turgid pacing and threadbare characterization reduce a promising what-if to so-so.

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CreateSpace Publishing
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5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt


The BOAC jet aircraft banked as it approached Boston. He was glad he had a window seat, because he wanted to get a good look at the city. As the aircraft closed in on the buildings and spires, he felt an illicit thrill.

Ten years, he thought.

A decade since he had last set foot in this country. If it hadn't been for that opportune visit out to that American SAC airfield that October, he would have remained in this country. Forever. Cooked, crisped, the fused remains of his atoms mixing in eternally with the Washington embassy building and the dozens of people on that doomed staff. He shivered and looked again at the old brick buildings and the narrow streets of Boston below him. Almost two hundred years ago a revolution began here, and his ancestors no doubt had a hand in it. Ironic, he thought.

The aircraft made a smooth enough landing. As he grabbed his overnight grip from the overhead compartment he was embarrassed at the quickening of his heart. He knew everything would be fine. The chaps back home were the best in the world, and besides, the passport he was carrying was accurate enough. It said JOHN SHEFFIELD, which was true. If it didn't say GENERAL SIR JOHN SHEFFIELD (Ret.), OBE, CB, well, then, whose bloody business was it anyway?

He stood in queue for Customs. The room was crowded, the tile floor scuffed and dirty. Only a handful of passengers moved over to the line for American citizens reentering the country. Few could afford to go overseas and there were even fewer countries where Americans felt welcome. The queue was moving now.

He handed his passport over to a paunchy-looking fellow wearing the U.S. Customs uniform of black trousers, white shirt, necktie, and billed cap. As the Customs man gazed over his passport he felt, again, that quickening of the heart. It would be all right, he knew. It would fine.

He wished he could forget that last conversation with that disturbing man in the Foreign Office. His contact seemed innocuous at first, gently puffing on a Dunhill: "You do realize, general, that if anything goes bollocks up, we can't possibly assist you? I do hate to say this, but you're on your own. We're eternally grateful for your assistance, of course, but we can't be linked to your mission. Either officially or unofficially."

It had been a jolt, of course. No backup, even for a general. The Foreign Office man had smiled slightly, patronizingly, looking like a sad hound with his thick eyebrows and sagging cheeks.

"Fair enough," he had said, speaking quickly, before he changed his mind about going back to that awful place.

The Customs agent was eyeing him. The agent's beard was a day old and his stubby fingers were ink-stained. His hat looked to be about one size too large.

"Purpose of your trip?"

"Business," he said. He had practiced saying the word in front of a mirror.

"What kind of business?"

"Textiles." The lie came easily to his lips. "I'm here to visit your mill towns in the north. Lowell and Lawrence. I represent a concern that's interested in purchasing some textile mills, put them back into business."

The Customs agent glared at him as he stamped the passport. Sheffield knew the look. Ambivalence, that was it. The Yanks had two attitudes about their cousins across the ocean: gratitude for the help and aid they had received this past decade, from food to medicines to seeds, and hatred for everything attached to that aid-the scholarships, raiding the American schools for their very best students and sending them to Britain; the medical programs, helping just a fortunate few each year for the best in burn and cancer treatments back home; and the businessmen, like the one he was trying to portray. Coming in, year after year, to buy up the shattered industries and fallow earth of this wide and wounded nation, to make a tidy profit, of course, but also slowly to bind this former colony back to its former mother country.

The passport slid back across the greasy metal counter. "Welcome to the United States." The agent's voice was as cheerful as a gravedigger's. Sheffield picked up the passport, noticed that the man's uniform shirt was mended in three places.

"Thanks, awfully," he said. After being cooped up in the tiny aircraft seat, the brief walk through the crowded terminal was a pleasure. Outside the air was smoky with car and bus exhaust. He was fortunate, only having to wait two minutes or so for a white and orange taxi cab at one of the stands outside of the terminal. He carried his hand luggage into the rear seat and said, "The Sheraton," and the taxi driver-a black man about his own age-grunted and off they went.

The driver said nothing as they joined the other cars leaving the airport and then went through a tunnel into Boston. That suited him fine. When they emerged from the tunnel he looked out the grimy windows of the cab as the driver maneuvered along the narrow and twisting streets. He had expected the place to look old and tired, like Manchester back home, but what surprised him was the dreariness of it all, like everyone had just given up. Most of the cars were old and rusted out, the buses belched great clouds of diesel smoke, and many buildings looked like they had gone for years without paint or repairs.

Fifteen minutes after arriving at the Sheraton he was in his room, lying down on the bed with his clothes still on and his shoes off, fighting exhaustion and jet lag. He got up and went into the washroom, putting a cold compress at the back of his neck. He looked in the bathroom mirror, seeing the tired blue eyes, the collection of wrinkles from squinting into the sun for years and years while in the Army, the freckled and often sunburned top of his head, fringed by a faint crown of short white hair. He knew he looked his age but he was also proud that he was only a half stone over his enlistment weight, when he was just seventeen years old and entered the service of the King.

And such years of service, from the muddy fields of France to occupation duty in Germany, and then climbing up the long ladder, becoming more and more involved with the diplomatic side of things. Now, he was in service to a Queen, meeting an American he had not seen in a decade, an American who claimed to have something vital, something important for both nations' future.

He washed out the compress, went back into the room, stood near the bed. Of course, the poor bastard was probably as crazy as a loon. He sat down on the faded bedspread for a moment, looking at the phone. Wendy. He could pick up the phone and get an overseas line, and in a matter of minutes, he could be talking to Wendy. The time difference was six hours. She'd be in bed-no doubt with the telly in the corner droning on as she dozed-but he knew his girl. She'd be happy to hear from him, despite her anger at his being in Boston.

He reached to the phone, but stopped. No, it wouldn't be smart. He had no idea who might be listening in from the hotel's switchboard. He got up and put his coat back on. He'd get a quick meal in the hotel dining room before going to sleep. Besides, he had to concentrate on what was ahead of him. He couldn't afford to be distracted by Wendy, as much as he dearly wanted to hear that voice.

The last time...they had been in the sunroom of their pleasant home in Harpenden when he had told her he was going overseas. She had to put her teacup down, her hand was shaking so hard. She had glared at him, her face a mixture of fear and dismay. "Tell me you're joking, John. Please."

"I'm afraid not, love," he said, sitting down in the cushioned wicker chair. "I'm told that it's something quite important, something that only I can do."

"You haven't been on the active list for three years! Surely they can send someone else."

He spoke firmly. He hadn't used this steely tone since his retirement. "They can't. There's...an American. Someone I knew when we were stationed in Washington. He will only talk to me, and me alone. That's why I'm going."

Tears were slowly trembling down her cheeks. Her voice was begging now. "I've been with you many a year, John Sheffield, with nary a complaint. You've been to Malaya and Cyprus and Aden. I've been with you in Germany and Belgium and Washington and Melbourne. Not once have I ever said a word."

"I know, Wendy. It's meant everything to me." But he wouldn't back down.

"And you're a silly old man, riding off again for Queen and Country," she said, raising her voice. "You've done your duty, more than any man I know! And now they want to send you, a man on pension who has to go to the loo three times a night. They're sending you on some silly James Bond mission to a country where they shoot students and people still starve in the countryside. I forbid it."

"Wendy, I've already told them that I'll go."

She folded her arms, stared out at her garden, her most favorite place in the world, and whispered the words again. "I forbid it."

But in the morning she silently packed his overnight bag. The car to pick him up had been late and he went out to the garden, to her bent-over form digging at something with a spade in the soil. He wanted to say so much but didn't know where to begin. So he had gone without a word.

Now he gave one last glance at the silent phone and left his room. An hour later, he knew he had made a terrible mistake. He had a solitary and quite awful meal in the hotel's dining room, some baked cod dish that was dried and tasteless and an American beer that was flat and without any body. He remembered a joke he had heard once, from a subaltern. "What do American beer and making love in a canoe have in common? They're both frigging close to water!"

A good joke, but he wasn't in a joking mood. After dinner he decided to take a quick walk outside to clear his head. He stepped out onto Boylston Street and joined the night crowd. There seemed to be a Boston copper or an Army MP on almost every street corner, and he tried to blend in, though he knew it wouldn't work, based on the way he was dressed. Most of the men and women looked like they were wearing clothes from the last decade, worn from being mended, washed and re-mended.

At Exeter and Newbury Street, he turned left and stopped. A group of Boston police officers and Army MPs were swarming out of a storefront door that had a for lease sign posted in its window. They had clipboards and wooden sawhorse barriers in their hands. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he had seen enough. It was time to get back to his room. He turned and saw a man with a tired face, in a suit better cut than others he had seen, who had his palm up, holding a police badge. He glanced around and saw other men in suits, doing the same thing to about a half dozen people who were walking away from the quickly erected barriers.

"Not so fast, mister," the policeman said. "You got someplace you gotta go so quickly?"

"Yes," he said. "I'm going back to my hotel."

The man cocked his head. "You're a Brit, ain't you?"

"I most certainly am," he said, reaching into his coat pocket. "Here's my passport."

The policeman quickly glanced through the small book and handed it back. "So it is. Go right ahead to your hotel."

He put the passport back and said, "What on earth is going on?"

The tired man shrugged. "Residency check, that's all. Make sure these citizens have permission to live here. You need permission to live and work in Boston and every other city in this country. If you don't, it's back to the suburbs and countryside for you."

"But they're just trying to survive, aren't they?"

"Yeah, but if everyone moved into a city, who'd be out there to grow crops and raise cattle and-hey! You there! Hold on!"

The policeman started running after a scared young man who was racing down an alleyway. Sheffield quickly made his way back to the Sheraton. He should have stayed home. This was an awful place. The only work here was for the young and fearless, and he was neither. He leaned against the wall of the hotel's lift, exhausted. Just twelve more hours, that's all, he thought. Twelve more hours. A good night's sleep and a bracing shower in the morning. Then there would be a quick meeting at some little pub in this city with that bloody American. After a quick pop over to the consulate, he'd be on an afternoon flight back home. If some young guttersnipe from the Foreign Office ever darkened his door again, he'd toss the bloke out on his arse.

He used the key, opened the door. Wait. Could this be his room? He stood there blinking in confusion as he went in. What the hell! There, in his bed, blanket and sheets just above her breasts, was an attractive young woman.

"Johnny," she said. "It's about time you got back."

He went forward. He'd have this straightened out in a few minutes and then he'd get some sleep. It wasn't a woman at all, but a young girl. Barely eighteen. Her hair was blond and pulled back.

"I'm sorry, young lady, but you have the wrong room."

She shook her head. "Nope. You're Johnny Sheffield, and you bought me for the night."

There was a noise behind him and he turned. Three men stepped out from the bathroom, wearing dark suits, white shirts, and black ties, their faces utterly expressionless. He took a deep shuddering breath, felt his hands relax. So. This was where it was going to end. He looked back down at the girl, saw that her hands holding the blankets were trembling. Sitting gently down on the bed, he grasped one of her hands and said, "M'dear, would you care to join me in a prayer?"

She nodded frantically, and as he looked up at the three approaching men, he noted the phone by the bedside.

Damn it, he wished he had made that call.

--From Resurrection Day, by Brendan DuBois. © June, 1999 Brendan DuBois used by permission.

What People are Saying About This

William Martin
A frighteningly believable piece of alternative history. You'll be shocked on every page.
Lee Child
The best 'what if' novel in years. A book you'll read three times and keep on your shelf forever. -- ( Lee Child, author of Die Trying and Tripwire )

Meet the Author

Brendan DuBois of New Hampshire is the award-winning author of sixteen novels and more than 120 short stories.

His short fiction has appeared in Playboy, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and numerous other magazines and anthologies including "The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century," published in 2000 by Houghton-Mifflin. Another one of his short stories appeared in in "The Year's Best Science Fiction 22nd Annual Collection" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2005) edited by Gardner Dozois

His short stories have twice won him the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, and have also earned him three Edgar Allan Poe Award nominations from the Mystery Writers of America.

He is also a one-time "Jeopardy!" game show champion.

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Resurrection Day 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read for all boomers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dont waste your money. I cant believe this was even recomended or even in the same category as "patriots & Survivors" was. Dont waste your money on this. The begining of the book is incoherant rambling not easy to follow and just plain dull. I made it to page 20 and closed it then started reading another book I got that has to do with the post Apacolyptic world im fastinated with and like to read about
Susan_Sherlock More than 1 year ago
This is a first rate thriller of alternate history. The reader realizes that real life characters are woven into the fiction making it plausable. I want to give it a five because it was SO memorable a read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's incredible to think that this book was written by the same person. 'Ressurection Day' which begins in Boston some years after the Cuban Crisis sparked WWIII, and following America's hollow victory in the war's aftermath, opens with a flourish of details so vivid and natural, that it's okay to overlook the incredibly fake British dialog and the way the book clearly rips-off the far superior 'Fatherland'. In that book, the alternate history involves a Nazi regime that emerged from WWII Uber Alles. Both books involve seemingly meaningless murders of unknown, obscure men that, when investigated, threaten to unravel the fragile understanding of the story's alternative history. By now, it's the 1970s, and America's WWIII triumph means that the nation is a bombed out, nuked and slowly disintegrating version of itself, with whole chunks of the country verging from lawlessness to uninhabitability. A strong military presence barely holds the country together, but much of the credit goes to General Ramsey, a thinly veiled stand-in for 60's SAC Chief Curtis LeMay. For most Americans, life is a series of utter deprivation, periodic form letters regarding missing relatives, censored news, and a preserved hate for the Kennedy's and their circle who are widely given responsibility for the war. (If the Kennedy years were supposed to Camelot, the Americans who populate 'Ressurection Day' would substitute a mix of Nazi Berlin, Troy and the Land of Mordor from Tolkein). Believed dead, the President is held in utter contempt, as is his young circle who are in different measures dead or in prison. Millions of Americans receive periodic form letters indicating that their relatives remain missing. Though technically a superpower, America is also impoverished, dependent on the good will of other nations. Though profiting from America's scars, even the most cynical foreigners pine for the America of old, the shining light pf democracy. The detective in this case isn't a policeman, but a Vietnam vet (we still lost Vietnam) named Carl Landry. Out of the service - service including military suppression in California in the war's aftermath - Landry writes sanitized news in Boston. When a homeless man offers Landry the story of a lifetime, Landry's interest isn't exactly picqued. The mysterious death of the informer is a bigger lure. When a cursory review of the victim reveals that he was part of JFK's honor guard, the hunt is on for some lost secret left behind by the President - something that will galvanize the nation to pick itself out of its fallout shelter the same way the youthful president had set the nation towards racial integration and scientific advancement. This is where the story turns into a sort of cross between political thriller and mystery. His newspaper writing skills should be enough to have cultivated in Landry the workings of a true detective. Unfortunately, those skills seemed to have been honed by regular readings of supermarket tabs, and Landry becomes a captive audience for every crazy conspiracy theorist left alive. There are hints midway through that the author will rehab the pitiful Kennedys - not so much because he begins guilding them, but because the military establishment gets the strong-arm treatment early on, and author Dubois shows no interest in changing that direction. Landry, however, seems to quickly lose the capacity for doubt, and only swallows more conspiracy. Unfortunately, suspended belief becomes infectious, and the British charachters, who are the weakest in this story, are given a starring role. There are hints that something will happen, that events are in the offing, but no clues - there's no reason for the reader to even guess as to the results, so why bother. To stretch plausibility even further, Carl falls in love with a visiting Brit who is not only clueless as to the state of American affairs, but needs Carl's to explain the history of WWIII. With the war so recent, Landry
Guest More than 1 year ago
An interesting 'what if' novel dealing with the cuban missel crisis, what if things had turned out differently and the soviet union and the u.s. went to war. At least that is the premise of the novel, it's setting. What the story really is is part love story, part espionage story. Dubois keeps the story moving with various turns in the plot and some interesting background story as to what it is like in this alternate world. He creates likeable, believable characters. It's good for some light reading.