- Series: The Disappearance (Book 1)
- Mass Market Paperback: 533 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (July 6, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345502906
- ISBN-13: 978-0345502902
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Without Warning (The Disappearance) Mass Market Paperback – July 6, 2010
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Birmingham’s acclaimed Axis of Time trilogy, an alternate history of World War II, now seems a mere warm-up for this blockbuster set on the eve of the second Gulf War. On March 14, 2003, as coalition forces ready their assault on Iraq, a massive energy wave envelops the continental U.S. and portions of Canada and Mexico. Quickly dubbed the Disappearance by baffled onlookers, the wave mysteriously obliterates all life forms, human and animal, within its shimmering borders. As politicians and scientists try to make sense of the anomaly, some foreign observers, including Iraqis, start celebrating, while others descend into chaos. Birmingham follows the volatile developments through the eyes of an American general in Guantánamo Bay, near the wave’s perimeter; a city engineer in Seattle, the only major U.S. city left unscathed; and an American secret operative fending off assassins on the streets of Paris. While Birmingham’s shocking premise may unnerve some American readers, a story line replete with full-throttle action should appeal to Anglophones everywhere. --Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In the blink of an eye, some unexplainable event causes every human being in the US (and in most of both Canada and Mexico) to simply cease to exist. The surviving Americans are stunned. The rest of world is either stunned or celebrating - at least for the moment. Then the real meat of the tale is served up - what would happen in the rest of the world if the biggest military power and the biggest economic power was gone?
Chaos, collapse, disorder, violence and suffering - among other things - is the answer. The detailing of which is where this book excels. And it's not just the detailing of the technical aspects - though there is that aplenty.
Some have said that John Birmingham delivers up a "Clancy-esque" thriller. I disagree. It would have been to easy for Birmingham to have simply spewed reams of precise militaristic sounding facts and figures into page after page (after page) and call that fiction writing, as does Clancy. What John Birmingham has done instead is to strike a far better balance by keeping the tech-level present but not overwhelming while he sticks to telling his tale about the people involved. Not the machines, not the functioning of the machines but of what happens to the people in this scenario. That's what makes this tale engaging and keeps it compelling.
There are no one dimensional characters in this tale and there's damn few two dimensional ones either. John Birmingham does an excellent job of fleshing out his characters, making them fully three dimensional so that they become real to us and thus they draw us in ever deeper to the tale he is telling through them.
This book makes for a romping read. Its premise is fascinating and its detailing of that premise is enlightening. His characters and the plights they find themselves in are what makes this tale work and it is the tale of those characters who provide the richest rewards in having read through John Birmingham's latest great book.
I highly recommend this one!
As I said, Birmingham has a very interesting premise. The strongest parts of his book were when he was really dealing with the repercussions of "The Disappearance"--how some Mid East countries close in on Israel and spark a small nuclear war, the political and religious riots in France and England, Venezuela making its move as a new power in South America. I wanted more about food riots, martial law, anarchy, who would fight who and side with who. I wanted to know what happened to Africa, China, Russia, Japan, India--countries we see very little of. Other than France and England, we really don't hear anything about the rest of Europe at all. Most of the speculation, which is what I sought in this book, took a backburner to the thriller-esque multi-character story lines. We followed a city engineer in Seattle (the best character by far), a marooned U.S. super-spy in France, a pair of sexy drug smuggler babes , an embedded Army Times reporter, a general in Cuba, a general in Hawaii, a shady lawyer, etc. Most of the story lines spend far too much time in bang-bang shoot-em-out gunfights (with far too much attention paid to the type of ammo people had) that prompted frequent page-scanning until I could get past all the fluff and back into some story meat. The cause of the Disappearance is really never explained, and I ostensibly understand why--Birmingham is basically saying that the Disappearance is ancillary, a means to a literary end. We're talking about the /effects/ of America falling off the face of the earth; he makes it happen quickly so we can get into the "good stuff." But that doesn't jive with the fact that most of the book reads more like a thriller-y disaster book. If it's a disaster book, then I want to know everything I can about the disaster you invented. If it's speculative fiction, I want to hear about all the speculated worldwide effects. What we get instead is a half-successful attempt at both.
Without Warning is an interesting book for sure, and despite its flaws, it's a quick, fun read--I just wish it had spent more time fleshing out its speculative premise and less time building the typical thriller storyline.
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