Annmarie's Reviews > Without Warning

Without Warning by John   Birmingham
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Jul 18, 11

bookshelves: alternate-history, apocalyptic, fiction
Read in July, 2011

Take one part clumsier Tom Clancy, add one part S.M. Stirling, shake it up with an anti-Muslim bias, and you get this 2009 novel by an Aussie. Set just days prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it's an apocalyptic read, full of military exploits.

A strange inexplicable energy wave abruptly covers most of North America and all mammalian life disappears or is melted into a pile of goo. At least I think it's all mammalian life; only humans are of concern in this book. Only the Seattle area, Alaska, & Hawaii are left of the U.S. states. Also most of Canada's populated areas, most of Mexico, and most of Cuba. There are a lot of narratives to follow, a bit too many for my liking: an undercover assassin woman working for the U.S. & embedded in France, a general at Guantanamo Bay, the city engineer in Seattle, a couple of hot babe pirates, and a former ranger journalist in Qatar. I think that's all of them. Anyway the storylines jump around and take place just after the event, then 1 week after, then 1 month after. They depict what happens to the rest of the world after the U.S. is effectively gone (except for most of the military and a few million expats). Chaos, lots of fighting, lots of brains and heads getting splattered, France really goes to hell (oh those Muslims and their cheese eating surrender monkey sympathizers- if you don't like phrases like that, don't pick up this book), the Arab world is entirely unhelpful and basically has no sanity or restraint whatsoever (but Israel is still around so don't be happy for too long, Arab world), and the U.S. military must step in to save those city goverment buffoons in Seattle who can't run their freaked out city without them. Olympia, Washington's capitol, seems to have survived but the governor and Seattle's mayor were out of state and apparently the rest of the Olympia legislative and judicial folk aren't worth bringing into the story. Neither is Vancouver, BC. Why would the two surviving major population centers in N.A., 3 hours away from each other, chat with each other. They're busy, after all. Luckily a few military folk and the city engineer are still interested in the Constitution, despite the unruly liberal military-hating Seattle populace and the ineffectual city councillors. Scientists suck and are useless in this book, but that Bill Gates, he's all right.

Can you tell this book annoyed me a lot? Still, it's action filled and has a coherent storyline, so it'll have its fans. Especially if they love the military. There are further volumes.
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