The only surviving member of his family after the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, young Lewis Crane devotes his life to seismology and is terrified when he predicts ""the big one."" 40,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo.
The author(s) of the book do many things right, while still managing to screw up the story. Surprisingly, it's about an earthquake. Several earthquakes, anyway. Crazy geologist Lewis Crane is hell-bent for revenge on earthquakes after one knocked off his parents in 1994. The book takes place in the early-mid 21st century, and we see several examples of advanced technology. Perhaps some of it is too advanced, but since we went from struggling to get a glider to hang in the air to putting men in space in about 50 years, maybe it is normal.
Anyway, the characters and several parts of the story are not developed very well. We never really get to know the characters, so that when something good or bad happens, we couldn't care less. The characters aren't exactly good people, either. Crane has some good characteristics, but he is pretty much consumed by his power. His assistant, Dan Newcombe, goes from being a humble scientist to a megalomaniac in a few chapters.
The book, though not being too long, drags on for quite a bit. There are ample oppurtunities to end the book, but the author(s) feel the need to keep it alive. Too much of a mediocre thing can be a bad thing.
As another point of negativity, the ending sucks. I won't give it away, but, eh, it wasn't very good.
In closing, I recommend this book to bored people who do not have anything else to do with their time. 50% of the population, in other words.
About the only thing I had trouble with was the rash of intense and destructive earthquakes that kept showing up in the book. If such disasters happened at the rate and scale they did here, the world economy would really tank, but somehow they just seemed to cause ripples.
I found the characters to be quite interesting and pretty believable, except for the male impersonator (no really good reason for that, and when the character was discussed, it was a bit confusing when folks called her "him" and when she was alone, she was "her").
This book is a definite page-turner, with just a few minor issues.
There are some obvious parallels with real life - for example, the leader of the NOI is obviously based on Elijah Mohammed, while the defecting geologist is similar to (but less influential than) Malcolm X. The vision of the future is quite dystopic (and overtly racist) - the U.S. government is a puppet for multinational (Chinese) corporations. However, the novel is not a warning or historical analogy, but simply an adventure story with lots of buildings falling over and tsunamis sweeping people out to sea.
On the whole, it is quite enjoyable. The action is well-written, the technology mostly believable, and the supporting characters well-developed. Unfortunately, the main characters are generally not likable (until, possibly, in the last 50 pages), so it's hard to develop any kind of sympathy for them. In addition, the central scientific tool the geologists use - a working scale model of the Earth - is extremely far fetched. The idea that an earthquake (or any major natural event) could be predicted by a 100-foot model, to an accuracy of a couple of minutes, stretches credulity to the breaking point.Read more ›