Tuesday, June 12, 2012
1097. End of Days
It's hard to categorize this book by author Robert Gleason, a self-styled expert on all things apocalyptic, or things related to the end of the world, and the myth of "2012 as the end of the world." In simple terms, you can say that it is a Science-Fiction novel and it belongs in that sub-genre called Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic Fiction. I have read a number of Dystopian novels in my time (especially lately), and this one does not crack my top 10, top 100, or top 1,000 (if I had read that many dystopian novels). It's execution leaves a lot to be desired. But let's take things from the top, shall we?
First of all, I was taken-in by the title of the book and the premise of the story. Additionaly, when I flipped to the back of the book jacket, I was hoodwinked (if I can be allowed to use that colloquialism) by such luminaries as Douglas Preston, an author I like, Stephen Coonts, ditto, and Steve Berry. There is more praise by Larry Bond and others. Honestly, having read these praises, I am not sure, if these folks actually read the same book I did, or were paid to say these things, because I seriously wonder about these opinions. But it's not for me to question another man's opinion. What I can do is tell you what I thought of this book.
The book started innocently enough by introducing Kate Magruder, a newsperson (anchorwoman?) of a major cable news outfit. The Cable News Outfit (not CNN, but MTN) is owned by her mother Lydia Lozen Magruder who is the great-granddaughter of a female Apache war-shaman. Lydia owns a multimedia empire (kinda sorta, a latter day Rupert Murdoch), and a bunch of other businesses, so she in effect entangled with the US Government who she supplies weapons to, and of course knows all the power players, all the way to the President. Her daughter Kate happens to be in Saudi Arabia covering the Hadj (the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca). While in Mecca, Kate sees her ex-husband, John Stone another journalist and employee of MTN who works directly for Lydia as he disappears into the crowd around Mecca.
This is important, because before John Stone disappears he informs Lydia via e-mail of some nefarious plans by a Russian general (who's name is Vladimir Malokov), obsessed with nuclear Armageddon. It becomes clear that even the Russian establishment does not know of his whereabouts. There also two Middle Eastern princesses who are the ones that have captured John Stone and have infiltrated the US Government at its highest levels. Meanwhile, there are forces moving unseen by everyone in the background, poised to strike. We are made aware, from the beginning of Russian Subs, maneuvering in the Atlantic full of nuclear weapons, being hunted by their own forces.
Now, all this seems like a fine story and it would be a pretty good story, on the face of it, BUT, (there is always the proverbial BUT, isn't there). Kate is an impudent child, who does not listen to her mother when she repeatedly asks her to come home, because she feels the "End" coming. Lydia of course keeps having those apocalyptic visions , and I would have appreciated that aspect of the book if it wasn't for so much else that went wrong... We're introduced to John Stone's ex-teammates (Baseball). One is in the Air Force, and is heading to an orbiting Space Station where an A.I. is in control. The other one is being transferred to a jail outside of Houston. Both of them end-up playing a prominent role in events. But so do, a rat (yes, a rat), the AI, someone named Cassandra who is some sort of seeress or prophetess, and the various weapons traveling this way and that.
So let's summarize, we have: intelligent humans, Artificial Intelligence (computers), and then, intelligent Rats, a Seeress, Intelligent Weapons, and in the end, a book that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Because I still don't understand the motivations of the people in the jail in Houston. What part do they serve in all of this? What drives Kate Magruder. Other than disobeying her mother, I see no motivation in her, She is a completely useless Human Being, and if the survival of the Human Race depended on her, we're doomed. But even more important that this, what motivates the people who initiate Armageddon? Do they do it for religious reasons, something else? Religion is mentioned, but I guess, only in passing. The people firing those weapons from their submarines end-up being just caricatures of humans. Their weapons, flying "in-glee" over the Earth, are more intelligent than them. All-in-all, a disappointing read, and a waste of my money. I would instead recommend the following: