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Twinkle Paperback – July 29, 2014
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About the Author
Mr. Parkinson was an Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. His novels have been praised for their realism and sold in fourteen countries, winning multiple international awards. "I don't incorporate overt sex, profanity, or extreme violence in any of my writing. I prefer the story to be the main focus and want my novels to be accessible by all mature readers." -SJ Parkinson
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On July 4, Sir Marcus Brandon, the wealthiest man in the world, wants to celebrate the launch of GNI, (Global News International) with a fireworks show. To ensure worldwide enjoyment, he has arranged for it to be shot from satellites in orbit. Inexplicably, all who viewed the fireworks start to go blind twenty-two hours later. Only a handful of people around the globe, those who didn't view the fireworks, retain their vision.
This book is set in the United States, but easily could have been located in any of the world's major cities. Much of the plot is centred around various levels of the military and the President, though the medical and general public are critical to the plot.
While I don't usually read military inspired stories, I was captivated from the first pages. For two days I couldn't put this book down. The military discipline and procedures worked well in this story. I wasn't lost by the unfamiliar terms, locations or processes of NORAD or the army/navy as Mr. Parkinson included succinct footnotes that answered my questions before I even knew to ask them. Security surrounding the American President was paramount in this plot and explained equally as well.
Twinkle is fast paced, occurring over the course of a two week span. There are frequent jumps between the main characters and locations, each is easy to follow and there doesn't leave gaps in the narration. Even though the story moves along quickly, there is sufficient detail such that I felt as though I knew several of the characters. My favourites being: Dr. Krause who was working to cure the blindness, Oscar Blake who was a patient of the doctor and missed the fireworks, and Colonel Alvin Smith who was on duty at NORAD during that night.
I recommend reading the author's end notes where he provides additional information clarifying fact from fiction with regard to both the blindness and the military. This is a well contrived story and should appeal to a wide range of readers.
The way the world discovers the blindness epidemic is a little gruesome, really. Pilots from military and commercial aircraft are the first we hear about, meaning that their planes are going to crash. Then there are the commuter trains.
People in the US are some of the last ones to lose their sight, but they had the advantage of knowing it was coming. Unfortunately, it also reduced the manpower available to the military to about 5 pct of its regular strength. Then, the real intent of the fireworks display rears its ugly head. The country that produced them wants to basically take over the world, and that was the way for weakening other countries' ability to defend themselves.
Mr. Parkinson's time in the military gave him an excellent background to write a book such as Twinkle. And a civilian, such as myself, appreciated the footnotes that explained some of the alphabet soup of military and political acronyms. It saved me from having to go and ask my young sons what the terms meant!
It also showed some of the best and the worst of human nature. When a fortunate (?) few that still have their sight and have escaped the invaders begin to plan how to take back the country, they helped each other and had each other's backs. When a doctor and a researcher find a possible cure and they try to distribute it, people want to take it from them to save their relatives and friends.
Twinkle with get you thinking about exactly what you would do when your country, your family, a pet, etc is attacked or in danger. Every once in a while I had to stop and think. And it could apply to anyone, anywhere in the world. The book happened to be set mostly in the US, but the situation could happen anywhere.
This is a rather lengthy book, but worth every minute. Twinkle is well written, thoroughly researched and will have you on the edge of your seat.
(Disclosure: I received a print copy of this book from the author and publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)
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