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M. J. Rusch

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (2 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : 1st Books Library

Published : 2000

Copyright : M. J. Rusch 2000

ISBN-10 : PB 1-58721-387-7
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-58721-387-8

Publisher's Write-Up

In the 23rd Century a non-nuclear apocalypse has finally come to exist.

On November 20, 2201, the Earth's vastly depleted ozone layer finally succumbed. And when it did, the Earth stood naked awaiting the final effect of the sun's onslaught of deadly rays. Earth had finally reached what many believed to be its Armageddon, and its people lived in wait for the day its death would finally come.

The world became divided, and a new governmental Cold War came to exist. Superpower countries and alliances of nations worked separately to devise a means by which man could still live and thrive on the now-changed world. Giant Domes were developed and constructed to shelter small areas of lands.

Superpower countries were careful to conceal and protect their own discovered technological secrets. Each looked to the other for failure, hoping as a nation the other would perish from the Earth.

A grand military defence scenario, Plan Zero, was formulated in the event a foreign invasion was launched on United States soil. Plan Zero was to be a fiery demolition aimed at wiping out invading armies and enacting genocide across the sun-ruined people of the United States. It was a plan to repopulate the nation to again make it healthy and strong.

Few knew the existence of Plan Zero. Fewer still believed it would ever be used. But in the year 2306, a situation presented itself, and United States President Franklin F. Ford was forced to put it into use. The years of the Great Dome War had finally begun.

A few short days before the initial ground war attack, Military Commander John Kirken left the Domes forever to be with his step-children not allowed to live with him within their protected confines. Like the rest of the outside world around them, they were slowly dying of radiation poisoning, and he vowed to be with them when the end finally came.

While walking down the centre streets of their hometown, Kirken and his family come upon the first troops of an invasion attack. In a fate-filled instant, they find themselves caught up within the midst of war. Kirken re-establishes his military contact and learns of the existence of Plan Zero. He is also informed that a demolition team has crashed en route to making his children's hometown the next target of the Plan.

Kirken is threatened that he and his family will be counted with the dead if he doesn't carry out the mission of the doomed demolition team. Kirken angrily returns to forced military action to initiate the town's destruction and protect the secret government technology, that when initiated, would mean more protected life on the dying planet. Caught unaware in a freshly declared war, Kirken must undertake the mission of destroying his family's hometown and protecting the lives of his stepchildren trapped with him inside the battle zone.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Nigel (300401) Rating (8/10)
Review by Chrissi (310301) Rating (7/10)

Review by Nigel
Rating 8/10
BookLore received this book directly from the author and the write up that came with it sounded very good. Chrissi read it first and even though she isn't a big science fiction fan she seemed to enjoy it.

It is basically a post-apocalyptic war story set in the not too distant future. There are some science fiction elements in the weaponry and the structures but most of the novel revolves around very gruesome battle scenes and vivid hand to hand combat (very bloody) involving the super human efforts of the main character as he single handily battles to save his family.

At times it is a bit fantastic with the amount of injuries he sustains but at least he does get hurt... unlike some main characters I can think of

The large battle scenes were also convincingly rendered with a brilliant sense of panic setting in as the battlefield weaponry escalated from tanks, to huge tower structures with hundreds of guns and rockets, to single shot beam cannons…destruction on a grand scale….great stuff.

I really enjoyed this novel and hope the author does well so he has the opportunity to develop the future earth he has created.
Nigel (30th April 2001)

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Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
Now this, I have to admit, is not my first choice of reading matter, being as it is a rather hard form of science fiction (more Nigel's taste, his review next update. Ed).

The premise is this, that the ozone layer has finally gone, leaving the earth vulnerable to the deadly radiation of sun and space. The lucky ones are the important people and scientists who are protected within the Domes, large structures which protect those within from the radiation sickness which is the result of living on the outside.

The story itself is set in a future incarnation of the United States with the politicians having a dual agenda, which involves 1) saving their own skins (literally) and 2) saving their own careers.

Unfortunately these goals are directly against the interests of the rest of the inhabitants of the planet. Once again, we see self-serving politicians set up as the bad guys, showing that many people (authors, mainly,) would agree with my low opinion of politicians. I wonder why - am I cynical, or is it just everyone else?? But please ignore my ramblings as they detract from the matter at hand.

The gentleman at the centre of the story is John Kirken, a military officer living inside a Dome, but whose family are condemned to a life outside with his ex-wife. He visits them but the inside/outside gulf is becoming difficult for all concerned. When war breaks out between the two main political alliances, Kirken is outside visiting his family, and becomes caught in a strategically important place between the factions. Trying to stay alive and keep his family safe, he tries to do his best for the society in whose service he has spent his life.

It is difficult for me to be critical of literature such as this just because it is not my usual choice. I do read it occasionally, at the behest of people who believe that I will find something that I was not expecting. I, unfortunately, like my rose tinted views and happy endings although I accept that these are not always feasible nor realistic.

Mr Rusch has produced a well written, well researched story, with almost excruciating detail. The medical aspects are perfectly graphical, and gut churning. It serves as a reminder of the folly of our present lack of action regarding our environment and the fact that politics only get in the way of true progress. (Last comment, honestly).

I will not give away too much of the plot, but it does leave the way open for the sequel, Dome: Project Hideaway. I have to say that the timeline for the book - over a few days rather than years like some science fiction novels, stands it in much better stead than some books I have read which ask too much in the way of credulity from the reader. I liked this and hope to read the second one to find out what happens.

As I have said before, S.F. is not my favourite genre, but I can enjoy the story from the human aspect, without taking too much notice of the technical details (bit of a technophobe, me.)

In closing, I enjoyed this in spite of it not being my usual reading matter. It would appeal much more to someone who could appreciate the technological thought that has obviously been given to the scenario. Unfortunately, (being a rose tinted person) I found certain aspects rather depressing, but I hope that may be borne out in the second instalment. It is certainly a very creditable first effort.
Chrissi (31st March 2001)

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