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Without Warning - John   Birmingham The book is a “What if” type of book. What if something happened and modern day USA (along with chunks of Canada, Mexico, Cuba) were removed from the planet. An energy wave that wiped out humanity in that zone, but for certain areas on the mainland (like Seattle).

The year is 2003, USA is set to invade Iraq. Bush is in the White House, and General Tommy Franks is in command of the invasion forces. “Something happens” and Bush, along with 200+ million people, are dead. Saddam struts and parties erupt in the Arab world (and in Paris). The work of Allah, a sign from God? Most of the USA military is outside the energy zone, though. The inner military command structure is in place, but civilian command is gone. What will happen in this what if world, a world where the remaining superpower is gutted and a power vacuum opens?

The book starts out strong and was a quick page turner. Quite interesting. Unfortunately there were some problems along the way. First, there were a huge number of characters to keep track of, who would take over the point of view of the story for a chapter. Second, the author seemed to break in the middle of scenes and then not continue until much later. There is one chapter that ends with a window in the process of being smashed. Five chapters latter the book turns back to this character and the window completes the process of breaking. By this point I had actually forgotten that story line. Easy enough to recall once the book returned to that story, though.

The third problem area, or issue, would be the ending. There is a tacked on epilogue that adds a feel of an abrupt ending. The book itself moves from day one of the event, to a month later, as time advances. The epilogue moves from a week later from the last chapter, to a year later.

Despite these flaws, I would highly recommend the book. The book was published in 2009. A further book in the series to come out in 2010. It isn’t relevant to the enjoyment of this book here, but I add that I attempted to read the second book in this series. I got a tiny bit into it before I had to stop. Thereby ending, for me, my reading of a particular author who had been growing towards possible favorite status. So, be warned. Enjoy Without Warning as a stand-alone novel.