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Grim Reaper: End of Days Mass Market Paperback – August 30, 2011

3.3 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Alten's new apocalyptic series, a plan to infect the Iranian delegation at the UN with a weaponized bubonic plague called Scythe goes awry, unleashing the plague on Manhattan. Manhattanite Patrick Shepherd, a crippled vet, is quickly tapped by the Secretary of Defense as the new poster boy for the military. Though reluctant at first, he discovers that a Scythe vaccine exists; with his estranged wife and daughter trapped in Manhattan, he begins a desperate journey through the dying metropolis to save them, along the way picking up the reluctant hero's requisite companions and going through the expected spiritual awakening by having to confront disturbing truths about reality, divinity, and the human race's capacity to self-destruct. Veteran Alten takes on a modern-day retelling of Dante's Inferno through the lens of a frighteningly all-too-possible biological attack on a densely populated American city. But terrifying plausibility is quickly muddled by ham-fisted allusions to Inferno, extreme leftwing conspiracy theories, vague spirituality, and enough blood to flood the Hudson. By the implausible end, readers will wonder how they went from genuinely scared to amusingly confused.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Alten has taken Dante Alighieri’s Divinia Comedia, the Black Death, extrapolations of contemporary biochemical warfare, the Kabbalah, and various unsavory political trends and turned them into an epic. Mary Klipot, a microbiologist, develops Scythe, a variant of the Black Plague. “God” then commands her to release it in Manhattan, to bring about the End of Days. The government seals Manhattan, trapping three million people, including the U.S. president. Patrick Shepherd was a promising baseball player before September 11, 2001. He joined the armed forces, leaving his wife and newborn daughter. As the story opens he is in a VA hospital, minus his left arm, his family, and much of his sanity. Having discovered Klipot’s plan, Patrick is determined to use the vaccine against Scythe to rescue his family. He and his therapist trek the plague-stricken neighborhoods of Manhattan, analogs to the nine circles of the Inferno. But human greed, corruption, and violence have brought about the End of Days. Alten shows his craft in story construction, but like most variations on the classics , this frequently seems contrived. --Frieda Murray --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; Reprint edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765367076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765367075
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reviewer #67845 HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Steve Alten is one of my favorite authors. I have read every one of his book, and he is one of only two authors whose books I will purchase in hardback (everything else I get from the library) because I want to financially support him for his work. That's why I was so disappointed by his latest novel, a modern day Dante's Inferno mixed with a bit of mysticism and a lot of conspiracy.

The one good thing I can say about Grim Reaper is that, after seeing it appear 25 times, I now know what the word "supernal" means. Grim Reaper has a pretty decent-sounding plot. A modern-day form of the bubonic plague virus is released in New York City, and quickly turns into a pandemic. New York residents must fight for survival as the government tries to contain the virus by any means necessary. Patrick Shepherd is a veteran of the Iraqi war who lost an arm during combat. Leigh Nelson is his doctor at the Veterans hospital, who takes an interest in Shepherd above and beyond what would be considered normal for most patients. After the virus is released, Shepherd is thrown into the story in an attempt to retrieve the virus, while at the same time, protect his estranged wife and child who he hasn't seen in years.

I'll start off with the positives. The story moves pretty quickly. There aren't a lot of dull moments where I found myself struggling to get through a chapter. The characters are somewhat likable, although forgettable as well. Alten has a great relationship with his fans where he runs contests and the winners get their name used as a character in an upcoming book (he has even used me as a previous character). So pretty much every character is introduced by their first and last name.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
At first glance, "Grim Reaper: End of Days" has all the potential attributes to make it a very thrilling horror/thriller novel. Obviously it's written by Steve Alten, so it's predicted it should be highly researched and well written. Secondly, the plot sounds like the makings of a summer blockbuster: A deadly plague released amongst the crowded confines of Manhattan island. And finally, just look at the cover. The grinning visage of the Grim Reaper glaring over the skyline of New York shows the capacity for a for both an entertaining, and possibly scary story.

However, "Grim Reaper" is NONE of those. It's empty, flat, and so full of Alten's weird mix of conspiracy theories and pseudo-religious dogma that it's almost impossible to even read the basics of this book.

In the preface, Alten states that this book may come off as "anti-soldier" but it is in fact a statement of anti-war. That would be all well and good but then why are all of the soldiers in this book made out to be trigger happy, racist, morally obtuse, corrupt individuals. They gun down innocents in the street, disobey direct orders and in Patrick's flashbacks are seen calling EVERY Arab a terrorist, a Godless individual and a scrounge across the Earth. Even a chaplain soldier is quoted as saying it's America's duty and God's calling to kill every single Iraqi.

Speaking of God, that brings us to Altens twisted, warped and all together highly annoying views on religion. His ideas are so twisted and convoluted its almost sad and to be honest, I have no clue as to where Alten is coming from and where he's going. Among the pages there are insights into Kabbala, Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read some of his previous books, I thought this author had possibilities. This book has definitely changed my mind. It is the most disgustingly preachy book I've ever read, I don't know if I can even stomach finishing the last 1/4 of the book. And, bear in mind, I'm of the same political persuasion as the author. This isn't a novel, it's a cross between political propaganda, and religious indoctrination.

I really didn't read this book to be converted to his kaballism, or to read his endless rants about the atrocities committed against the Jews (while completely ignoring the atrocities committed BY the Jews on the Palestinians.)

Combine that with the blatant mistakes that he makes in all of his books, showing that he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. For example, in this one he constantly says that they speak Farsi in Iraq (they speak Arabic, duh.) Or that a tiny 10 foot boat is some sort of giant luxury yacht, complete with galley, shower, and sleeping quarters.

I do not think I will be wasting my time reading any of Mr. Alten's future books. He's lost touch with reality, and is no longer entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have generally been a fan of Steve Alten and thought that this book would be interesting. What a found was a horribly confusing mess of overly religious preaching and anti government sentiment. The religious aspect is do deep and confusing. It appears to be anti christian, anti organized religion mishmash of Buddhism, Kaballism and the occult. One moment the characters are discussing the bible, then it quickly turns on the bible as being false and there is no God. In small doses this would be fine but it appears whatever religion the authors have in mind is shoved down your throat the entire time. The story as a whole does not flow very well and becomes confusing as hell. I understand they were going for imagery and artistic but after a while I couldn't wait for this book to be finished. I was tempted to give up so many times in order to start a book I would actually enjoy. I just kept hoping for a giant shark to show up. What makes it worse: the possibility of a sequel.
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