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Without Warning [Hardcover]

John Birmingham
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 3 2009
In Kuwait, American forces are stacked up, locked and loaded for the invasion of Iraq. In Paris, a covert agent, a woman who inhabits a twilight of lies and death, is close to cracking a terrorist cell. And just north of the equator, a forty-foot wood-hulled sailboat, manned by a drug runner, a pirate, and two gun-slinging beauties, is witness to the unspeakable. In one instant, all around the world, for politicians and peasants, from Gaza to Geneva, things will never be the same. A wave of inexplicable energy has slammed into the continental United States.

America, as we know it, is gone. . . .


Now U.S. soldiers are fighting a war without command or control. A correspondent records horrors for no one. Washington is gone and the line of succession is in tatters; the functioning remnants of government are in Pearl Harbor, Guantánamo Bay, and one desperate, isolated corner of the Northwest. For the jihadists, it’s Allah’s miracle. For Saddam, it’s a chance to attack. Iran declares war on an America that doesn’t exist–except in the hearts and souls of the men and women who want it to.

In this astounding work of alternate fiction, John Birmingham hurtles us into a scenario that is unimaginable but shatteringly real: a world of financial ruin where a cloud of noxious waste–from America’s burning cities–darkens Europe, while men and women in offices around the globe struggle to make decisions that cannot hold and opportunists unleash their secret demons.

From a slick Texas lawyer who happens to be in the right place at the right time to a hard-working city engineer in Seattle who becomes his terrified city’s only hope, from the cancer-stricken secret agent to a drug runner off the Mexican coast and a U.S. general in Cuba, Without Warning tells a fast, furious story of survival, violence, and a new, soul-shattering reality. The first in an epic trilogy that will leave readers breathless and astounded, Without Warning offers a world without its policeman, its Great Satan, or its savior–as an unknowable future struggles to be born.

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Advance praise for Without Warning

“John Birmingham’s ability to seamlessly merge the gritty realism of Tom Clancy with the raw speculation of Michael Crichton is like no other author I’ve ever read. Brilliant, nail-biting, thoughtful, and excruciatingly pertinent to our times, his latest novel, Without Warning, is simply a tour de force, a true classic in the making. It should be required reading for the entire world.”
–James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Oracle

“What would happen if America vanished? Some would like to find out, but John Birmingham’s Without Warning suggests that the Pax Americana would soon be sorely missed. It’s a gripping story, for Americans and non-Americans alike.”
–Glenn Reynolds, InstaPundit

“Delivers all the action and techno-detail that any Clancy fan could wish for.”
–Robert Buettner, author of Orphanage

“A modern, even postmodern alternate history where the people who wish the United States would go away get what they wished for, and the consequences are meticulously, horrifically worked out in compelling detail through the eyes of a medley of interesting, well-developed characters and tightly plotted action.”
–S. M. Stirling, author of Island in the Sea of Time

Praise for John Birmingham’s Weapons of Choice

“Weapons-grade military techno-thriller . . . [Birmingham] describes military hardware with an exuberance and virtuosity that’s positively Clancyesque.”

“Birmingham’s enthralling battleground mixes provocative historical fiction and socially conscious futurism.”
–Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

John Birmingham is the author of Final Impact, Designated Targets, Weapons of Choice, He Died with a Felafel in His Hand, The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco, How to Be a Man, The Search for Savage Henry, and Leviathan, which won the National Award for Nonfiction at Australia’s Adelaide Festival of the Arts. Birmingham is also the recipient of the George Munster Prize for Freelance Story of the Year and the Carlton United Sports Writing Prize. He has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, Rolling Stone, Penthouse, Playboy, and numerous other magazines. He lives at the beach with his wife, daughter, son, and two cats.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars So-So Jan. 17 2014
By Irene
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was recommended to me as a really outstanding book. I can only conclude that the person who recommended has not read many really outstanding books!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Feb. 21 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent read. I am going to order the follow-up book to this to see where it goes from here. This was my first book by this aurthor and I'm looking forward to seeing where he goes from this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much Better than Axis of Time Trilogy April 17 2010
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
While I certainly enjoyed Birmingham's Axis of Time trilogy, it was differentiated from the other alternate histories of World War II yet tended to drag and confuse. What I really enjoy about this first book in his new trilogy is the premise and the pace. A weird event has taken out the continential U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico. But the best part is the timing of it - the story takes place in 2003 as the U.S. is set to invade Iraq so a great deal of their military might remains intact. Birmingham takes us around the globe as people attempt to digest the sudden shift in geo-political power not to mention associated economic and environmental issues. The characters are sound and the individual plots interesting. But it is the question of what would the world do if the U.S. vanished that is so intriguing. I am anxiously awaiting the second entry because the first ended with an amazing cliffhanger. Overall it is solid entertainment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. May 14 2011
By **
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book by John Birmingham I've read. I loved it. It's everything I was hoping "One Second After" would be and more. It takes characters that are spread all around the world and follows them as they deal with the fallout from this huge energy wave. I won't get into the plot because it's easy enough to find a synopsis. As I'm plowing through the second book in the series I like this book even more. Birmingham does an excellent job crafting a variety of characters and placing them in a wide array of situations. I like it more now that I've started the second book because I like how the plot is coming together, and have grown fond of the characters. If you're into post-apocolyptic stuff, and world events this book is for you.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing! Nov. 19 2010
By Michel
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am currently reading this book, the first from this author and so far - very disappointing! The language in this book is more complicated then John Cook, who is a doctor. I am forcing myself to read it because I paid good money but many times I will put it aside, read something else and come back to it. The book does have more then 500 pages and I hit 200 but I still don't have a good idea what this story is about. The characters are interesting but John's writing makes them boring and hard to follow.

At this time, I'm not sure I will buy the next book After America, unless the ending of this one gets better.

Super that the author knows big complicated words, but this takes away from the actual pleasure of reading it.

As for the story? YES DEFINITELY a super idea and this is the reason I bought it in the first place but as I said earlier - the writing is killing this book, atleast for me it is. I do have a huge collection of novels and read many different authors. Honestly, this takes me back to when I read the STand by Stephen King. That book took me a long time to read but the last few hundred pages flew by quickly.

If Without Warning does get better, I'll write a new review.

- Michel
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