Saturday, 9 February 2013
Without Warning by John Birmingham Review
Thriller, Action, Science Fiction
When a wave of inexplicable energy slams into the United States, America as we know it vanishes. From a Texas lawyer who happens to be in the right place at the right time to an engineer in Seattle who becomes his citys only hope, from a war journalist trapped in the Middle East to a drug runner off the Mexican coast, this is a story of survival, violence, and a new, soul-shattering reality.
Re-released by Titan books, 'Without Warning' by John Birmingham is a rather interesting mash up of many different genres. There's part technological thriller, balls to the wall action and even a bit of science fiction thrown in for good measure.
Normally that would make a story remarkably disjointed and comfusing but here, somehow, it works brilliantly well. In fact, it's actually really amazing just how Birmingham keeps so many narrative plates spinning without letting any of them fall.
The best way I could think of to describe his style of writing is that it's a bit like John Clancy with a bit of science fiction running through it. There are even flashes of Chris Ryan style action sequences too.
The one part that did bug me was his obsession with describing nearly every single facet of the weaponary and gadgets used. It bordered on it nearly being a fetish at times.
However the story itself is amazingly hard hitting and hooked me from the minute I started reading to the time I put it down once I'd finished. Not a mean feat considering just how big the book is and how heavy duty the story line is.
One of the things that really impressed me was how he even managed to use real people and had them giving realistic reactions to the situations. For example, this was set just before the invasion of Iraq so when America disappears, there's a whole army without leadership. The English Prime Minister, Tony Blair, puts the whole country on lock down after ridding the country of anyone he deems undesirable. It's the moments like that which really raise the quality of the story up immensely.
The double agent suffering from a fatal illness was a good touch too and a really unique character in the book and really stood out long after I'd finished the story.
Definitely one worth picking up. If you like John Clancy or Chris Ryan then you will love this one. If you like television shows like 'Flash Forward' then you will love this one so it's well worth picking up.