The Testimony
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The Testimony

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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  31 reviews
A global thriller presenting an apocalyptic vision of a world on the brink of despair and destruction.

What would you do if the world was brought to a standstill? If you heard deafening static followed by the words ‘MY CHILDREN, DO NOT BE AFRAID’?

Would you turn to God? Declare it an act of terrorism? Subscribe to the conspiracy theories? Or put your faith in science and a r...more
Paperback, 362 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by blue door (first published April 1st 2012)
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Andy
I tend not to give too much away in reviews but merely a flavour & for those that are intrigued I would recommend this book highly despite me giving it "only" a 4* rating - it would be nigh on impossible to rate it 5* due to it's method of delivery & that Honestly is in no way a flaw or a slur on the writing? Thats got you thinking hasnt it?

For the concept & ambition alone I would rate this book a clear 5*. It's a brave idea basing a plot on such a "small" concept, 3 lines is all :)...more
DanB
**SPOILER REVIEW**

I was so looking forward to this book but it pains me to say it bored me to tears!! For me The Testimony was a mix between World War Z (Max Brooks) and Blindness (Jose Saramago) but lacked the "Global Crisis" excitement of the former and the deeply religious questions raised by the latter.

For the uninformed the book consists of several characters who give their account of the events of the narrative. Again, WWZ surpassed The Testimony in this respect as well as I found the writ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
A really good thinking experiment about "how to make the world divide into three camps over a single hour: make them pick between science, fantasy and religion. Give them a situation, a hypothetical situation, then give them three possible reasons for it happening – could be aliens, could be God, could be something we made ourselves and just haven't worked out yet – and ask them to choose." This novel uses the old Post-Apocalypse theme, but in a new and interesting way. The Testimony was better...more
Angus Mcfarlane
A free ebook. Nearly everyone in the world simultaneously hears a voice saying 'my children, so not fear'. The story follows the lives of 50 or so people as they experience the repercussions of the broadcast, or testimony. As expected, there are a lot of religious implications involved, although the majority of the action is political, albeit as a sideline to the broadcast itself. The plight of the who don't hear is also mentioned.

This is a frustrating story to read. The number of subplots, ackn...more
Steven Pilling

Could be a guilty pleasure but not sure.

It is an account of the world after a voice is heard (or not) that may or may not be god.

It uses first person narration and resembles if anything a documentary with different people from all around the world commenting on affairs in retrospect.

Its a technical marvel, the plot unfolds slowly like a drip drip, there are characters from all strata so you see the changes from multiple perspectives and its an engaging concept.

The only fault is some of the c...more
Beverley Jones
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have all the ends neatly tied up and questions answered at the end of a book then this book probably isn’t for you. You have been warned!

The narrative is a series of first-person accounts piecing together the apocalyptic events following a ‘broadcast’ heard simultaneously by (almost) all the inhabitants of the planet. Chaos ensues as the authorities try to find the source of the broadcast and what it means for humanity – could it be a terrorist attack of...more
Janette Fleming


Global thriller presenting an apocalyptic vision of a world on the brink of despair and destruction.

What would you do if the world was brought to a standstill? If you heard deafening static followed by the words ‘MY CHILDREN, DO NOT BE AFRAID’?

Would you turn to God? Declare it an act of terrorism? Subscribe to the conspiracy theories? Or put your faith in science and a rational explanation?

The lives of all twenty-six people in this account are affected by the message. Most because they heard it
...more
Tejal
The Testimony is a striking debut from James Smythe. He encapsulates perfectly the sense of confusion, fear and wonder surrounding an unexplainable global event. The use of 26 narratives is a great style choice and it allows Smythe to explore the many different reactions; from religious figures who begin questioning or reaffirming their faith, to the non-believers, to those who just try to carry on like nothing out of the ordinary has happened. The gradual descent into fear and pandemonium, part...more
Devlin
Found this in Cambridge while visiting family in the UK (love finding good books unavailable in Canada ). This is a very cleverly constructed novel with 26 narrative voices and a conceit, a voice is heard as if the voice of God throughout the modern world, that is totally engrossing. The reactions of each of the characters is fascinating and the writing is first-class and confident.

I've just finished the novel and realize , I will miss many of these characters. The weakness for me was the last...more
Ellie
How to make the world divide into three camps over a single hour: make them pick between science, fantasy and religion. Give them a situation, a hypothetical situation, then give them three possible reasons for it happening – could be aliens, could be God, could be something we made ourselves and just haven't worked out yet – and ask them to choose.

First there was static, heard in every corner of the world. Some shrugged it off as a malfunction, governments were concerned it was the sign of an a...more
Teena
Sep 23, 2012 Teena rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
This is a compelling story of how humanity reacts to hearing (or not hearing) a message, possibly Divine in origin, possibly alien, possibly something else entirely, followed by inexplicable illnesses and deaths. I was completely caught up in the stories of how people (normal people and people in power) dealt with not only the possible implications of the message, but how society changed as a result. I was particularly interested in the stories of the people who did not hear the message at all....more
John
I think if a book makes you think when you are reading or when you have finished then its a good thing and James Smythe has certainly made me think!

This has probably been said before but if you like a nice clean book that ties up all the loose ends in the final chapters then this isn't the book for you.

A great modern apocolyptic story of grave proportions delivered in a very interesting way and involving a number of different characters!
Dor
To begin with, The Testimony is ... thorough, shall we say. The "talking heads" style narrative feels slow to get going, but the fault for this should be laid at the feet of the blurb: it takes 25% of the book to cover the receipt of the message.

However, once it gets going, it gets going. It's a proper One-More-Chapter read. I wasn't a great fan of the surface direction (view spoiler) it took - just feels a bit "meh" - but I enjoyed it very much and will...more
Vicki
The second half of this book was so much better than the first. There was a lot of religious stuff thrown in to the first half, and as a complete atheist I struggled to remain interested. I knew there would be a religious element to the book, but it was a little bit too much for me.
Everything in the second half I found far more interesting, and so I flew through that part of the book.
I did enjoy how it was written; from different people's experiences and points of view. You go to see the littl...more
Barry
Better than The Explorer/Echo. Nearly as good as The Machine.

He certainly likes the definite article!
Steven
This was recommended to me by a friend who thought I'd enjoy it, which he was correct. Possible spoiler below.

The author tell a compelling story through the personal accounts of 20+ character and how a single event (hearing static and then a voice) changed the world. Some heard the voice of god, others belief its the work of governments or terror cells. The characters span across the globe and come from all walks of life, some of which at some stages interact, while others never meet.

How would...more
Cattrina
Not as good as "The Explorer" but still excellent!
Michelle
I found the style of the book clunky and hard to read. While the premise was interesting, I really struggled to keep reading this.
Ewa
This book kept me up until 3am and made me gasp out loud at several points and it's tremendous. Like World War Z enough to appeal to that kind of reader but entirely different; international but weirdly local, large-scale but personal, full of big ideas but also terrifying little details. Please can someone make a low-budget fake documentary (in the manner of the 2002 BBC Smallpox doc) using this book. It would be AWESOME.
James Robinson
Well, I was enjoying this, even with the biologist from Auckland being written as an uneducated redneck until a section where a character called Anastasia is clearly pointed out as staying at home and two pages later she's suddenly there with sore feet. Blow sloppy editing.
brenna
Really interesting in form and very well-written (because the story is told by multiple characters, Smythe's skill with voice is evident throughout), but I had a hard time connecting to the story. I think the post-apocalyptic themes will click more with other readers perhaps. Smythe does an excellent job with an ambitious and complex narrative style, but the underlying story didn't grab me in the end.
Bob Pedley
Disappointing.

In the first quarter of the book, the author seems to have a promising precept - the disembodied message, heard by everyone on the globe; and begins to explore some interesting moral and spiritual areas.

Unfortunately, the the rest of the book is cloned from a second rate disaster movie - "Armageddon" or similar.
Laure Eve
One of the best accounts of the actual process of a world breaking down I have ever read. Horribly realistic. Also deeply cynical but open to interpretation, so the reading of 'cynical' may just be me :)

Frightening and stunning. Read it.


Rachel Williams
Took me an age to read but once I got into it properly I enjoyed it. Makes you think
Allegra
This is an innovative and original take on the apocalypse! Thought-provoking, compelling, and ringing frighteningly true, this is an examination of a world pushed to the edge when beliefs are tested.
Donna
Compelling and rather frightening read. I couldn't put this down. However I did feel it was weakened somewhat with the very limited exploration of the reasons behind why a few didn't hear the broadcast.
Sam
Dec 16, 2013 Sam rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Struggled reading this. Each characters parts on their own were fine but I kept expecting something more. I knew before I reached the end that there really wasn't going to be an ending just a stop.
Julie Cohen
Terrifying, absorbing, well-written armageddon thriller. I like how the ending leaves unresolved questions, and hints some profound and disturbing truths about human nature.
Kate
Loved this - a thriller with a difference, mixing scifi and mindgames and raising all kinds of questions about whether we are alone. Review to come.
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