This book is not an easy read. There are a lot of things that will make you want to quit. I was about a third of the way though and I was thinking, “What the heck is going on? Am I going to keep reading or should I just give up now?” Why did I feel this way? Let me tell you.
This is a thick, large size paperback, with small type. I needed real good light to be able to read it easily. The kindle version with adjustable font size would be a great option.
The action takes place all over the globe, and is told from many different characters points of view, and some of those characters aren’t even human. There is a large, intelligent rat, a computer in an orbiting space station, and a whole bunch of sentient nuclear devices, bombs, cruise missiles, etc. These bombs and missiles are talking and telling you what is going on. The computer is an advanced AI device, and won’t talk to anyone. And a talking rat! Well that really made me wonder about this book.
Many of the human characters don’t feel real at all. They are caricatures. Their mission is to tell Mr. Gleason’s story of the future. And they do, sometimes it’s more like a sermon or a documentary instead of a novel. Mr. Gleason wants to warn us about the impending Armageddon. He is using this piece of just-about-fiction to drum it into our thick skulls.
OK, so you don’t give up. You make it to the halfway point. Now the book begins to jell. You get used to the weird, non-human characters. You begin to get in the flow of the book, and then it’s OK. Once you make it over the hump you can start to enjoy reading End of Days. The rest of the book is an exciting, fairly straight forward apocalyptic novel. Like any good near-future science fiction novel, most of the science has a ring of truth to it. The nuclear destruction of the planet and most of the human race isn’t a pleasant idea to have to think about, but Mr. Gleason’s hypothesis seems to be based in fact.
Mr. Gleason is a very skilled writer. He can really craft a sentence. I really did like the way he wrote. But this book is more than just a novel. This is a platform to warn us, maybe to make us get involved, to do something so that this novel, End of Days, isn’t what our future holds for us, and our children and grandchildren.
Should you read this book? I don’t know. If you can put in the work, plow through the weird style, and then digest what Mr. Gleason is saying, you will get something out of it. Not an easy read, but it ended up being worth the work to me. I give End of Days 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up.
I received a copy of this book for free from Forge Books.
Release date: May 6, 2014
Lydia Lozen Magruder—the great-granddaughter of a female Apache war-shaman—has seen visions of the End since childhood. She has constructed a massive ranch-fortress in the American Southwest, stocked with everything necessary to rebuild civilization.
Now her visions are coming true. John Stone, once a baseball star and now a famous gonzo journalist, stumbled across a plan to blast humanity back to the Stone Age. Then he vanished. Lydia’s only hope of tracking him down lies with her stubborn, globe-trotting daughter Kate, Stone’s former lover.
Meanwhile, a Russian general obsessed with nuclear Armageddon has also disappeared…as have eight or more of his Russian subs, armed with nuclear-tipped missiles.
In Robert Gleason’s End of Days, the world is armed for self-destruction. Who will survive?
From the authors website http://robertgleasonbooks.com/
A small terrorist organization enlists its best and brightest to sneak into the nuclear storage facilities of the world’s great powers and smuggle out ample nuclear-bomb fuel for their mission. Then, the terrorists cobble together a crude nuke capable of wreaking staggering devastation, Hiroshima- or Nagasaki-style. Then, the terrorists nuke the great powers, framing other great powers for the crime. In retaliation, the great powers start nuking one another. In a flash, the small terrorist organization has orchestrated a global nuclear Armageddon.
Sounds like horror fiction? In fact, it’s an extremely plausible likelihood, according to noted editor, author, and the world’s foremost expert on nuclear terrorism, Robert Gleason. In his resoundingly acclaimed new novel, END OF DAYS (Forge Books; September 20, 2011; $24.99 Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-7653-2992-9), Robert Gleason brings this horrific scenario masterfully, chillingly, and, above all, believably to life. Inspired by a prediction futurist Herman Kahn made 50 years ago, this gripping work of fiction is backed by Gleason’s rigorous research—nearly 30 years’ worth of probing the alarming lack of security at nuclear storage facilities in the U.S. and other countries; the shocking availability of nuclear bomb-fuel and bomb-building technology for sale, by governments and on the black market; and the ease of making crude but frighteningly effective nuclear bombs.
Gripping and harrowing, END OF DAYS weaves an intricate, action-packed plot around the very real possibility of nuclear apocalypse. It begins in Mecca with Kate Magruder, intrepid reporter. She has come to cover a revolutionary pilgrimage: Russian’s minister of defense, Vladimir Malokov, nicknamed “Mad Vlad” for his wild and ruthless antics, has abruptly converted to Islam. But Kate’s real reason for following the flock is much more complicated. Her former field partner and ex-lover, John Stone, MLB star turned maverick journalist, may also be in Mecca—hot on the trail of loose nukes. As Stone demonstrated in a disturbing video message, virtually anyone can stroll into any one of the Soviet Union’s many ill-secured nuclear storage facilities, scoop up handfuls of bomb-grade plutonium, and, with the help of a hunk of cannon (easily bought or, almost as easily, stolen), whip up a working model of the Hiroshima “gun-barrel bomb.” Apparently, a lot of potent nuclear material has gone missing and, if Stone’s hunches prove right, have fallen into the hands of Mad Vlad—or someone even more dangerous.
To add aggravation to Kate’s anxiety, her mother, Lydia Lozen (L.L.) Magruder, still a force to reckon with at age eighty-one, is increasingly tormented by her visions. The great-granddaughter of an Apache shaman, L.L. has seen glimpses of darkness since childhood. But now, her dreams of the End of Time come in horrific detail, with bombs that actually speak to her. From her private oasis and impenetrable fortress in the Sonoran Desert, L.L. masterfully runs her global media empire. Yet, as Kate begins to fear, her mother and her ex-lover share a sense of foreboding much too powerful and plausible not to be taken seriously. Kate also has unsettling inklings of her own about President Ali al-Haddad of Dar-al-Suhl, a small country near Turkey with a bellyful of oil. Studying his picture, taken on his recent goodwill visit to Moscow, Kate can’t shake the feeling that something about Ali and the two women photographed with him, identified as his sisters, seems…frightening. Driven by a huge cast of fully drawn characters, END OF DAYS is filled with hard facts about real-world nuclear security risks and vivid depictions of the probable fallout. Along the way, Gleason compels readers to consider:
Formidable nuclear weapons like the Black Stealth Crow, “a creature of inconceivable cunning, elusive as smoke, invisible as night,” designed to evade infrared detectors, change shade in a flash, and hide in plain sight;
The catastrophic impact of a nuclear terrorist strike on Beijing…or on New York City’s lower east side, decimating Wall Street;
Hellfire on earth—ignited by nuking the Yellowstone caldera, a gigantic, super-volcanic crater. Such a blast would wreak the unspeakable—a hurricane of blazing embers, a cyclone of infernal ashes, and mountains of debris—across most of the U.S. and southern Canada.
Packed with shocking twists and earth-shattering possibilities, END OF DAYS is, in the words of New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston, “terrifying, outrageous, eerily prescient” and, to quote New York Times bestselling author Whitley Strieber, “unforgettable.” Grounded in meticulous research, END OF DAYS is also a chilling cautionary tale of what ultimately will happen if our current state of lax nuclear security and unchecked nuclear proliferation persists.
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Forge Books; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
About the Author
ROBERT GLEASON has dedicated nearly 30 years to researching the threat of nuclear terrorism and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. He was recently featured in the History Channel special “Prophets of Doom.” He has also had an extremely long and exceptionally successful career as an acquisitions editor in New York publishing. Stephen King, Robert Heinlein, Nancy Friday, Harold Robbins, Father Andrew Greeley, Joy Fielding, Margaret Truman, Jack Anderson, Whitley Strieber, Ed McBain, Ice-T, Reggie Jackson, and Former Secretaries of Defense Casper Weinberger and William Cohen are among the hundreds of notables and bestselling authors that Gleason has signed up and edited.
He has worked for Simon & Schuster-Pocket Books, Playboy Press and for the last 28 years at Tor/Forge Books, where he is executive editor. He has published more than a dozen novels on his own and coauthored several, most recently, Apocalypse 2012. In 1995 New York City named a day after Robert Gleason for the work he’d done for prison literacy—which included editing and publishing a sizable number of inmates and ex-offenders—and which has included speaking in many, many prisons. He had a starring role in the History Channel’s two-hour special, PROPHETS OF DOOM.
Robert Gleason was born in Michigan City, Indiana. He has an AB in English literature from Indiana University, a master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and he attended the Sorbonne, all of which were financed by seven hellish years in the Gary steel mills. He has worked in New York book publishing as an acquisitions editor pretty much forever. When he began, he says, he and his colleagues “chiseled books on the walls of caves.” He lives in New York City.
The book description is from Amazon. End of Days (Paperback)