Cannibal Reign by Thomas Koloniar
Publisher: Harper Collins/June 2012
Kind thanks to HarperCollins for providing a review copy
First the asteroid would come, slamming into the earth just north of the Montana border, followed by earthquakes, tsunamis, and unending night.
And after that . . . Hell.
Astronomer Marty Chittenden is the first to recognize the approaching doom—a discovery that makes him a marked man.
Green Beret Jack Forrest knows the catastrophe is inevitable, and begins stockpiling an abandoned missile silo with supplies while gathering together a small community of men, women, and children he prays can survive the apocalypse.
Then disaster strikes. In an instant the world they know ends forever, transformed into a nightmare realm of eternal darkness. Soon the few remaining humans are transformed as well, becoming savage things—raping, pillaging, and devouring their own.
And the time is approaching when Forrest and his people will have to leave their underground “Noah’s Ark” to face a shattered world and the unspeakable terrors that dwell there—in desperate pursuit of one slim hope of survival . . . called Hawaii.
Jack Forrest and his crew of former Green Berets are preparing for the end of the world in an abandoned missile silo, gathering a group of 50 men, women, and children in hopes of riding out the disaster to come. An asteroid is on its way towards Earth, and threatens to kill everyone within thousands of miles of impact, and kill millions more as the earth plummets into nuclear winter and ashy darkness. Meanwhile, astronomer Marty Chittendon knows it’s coming, and implores the only woman he’s ever loved to take the news public. Will Earth survive, or fall in a sea of death and destruction?
Well, from the title you can already tell that after the asteroid hits, things certainly aren’t coming up roses, but it’s hard to imagine just how awful things do become. In Cannibal Reign, the author has taken a familiar post apocalyptic scenario and turned it into his own creation of terrifying adventure and characters to root for (and fall in love with.) The narrative weaves among three separate storylines, eventually bringing them together to explosive effect. Jack Forrest is tough and very capable, but doesn’t take himself too seriously, which I loved. Quietly nursing his heartache over losing his son, the people in his care are in more than capable hands, and his core of humanity and loyalty runs very deep. Marty Chittendon starts as a geeky astronomer who’s inner strength gets to shine after the disaster. Shannon Emory, perhaps my favorite character, is a soldier that abandons her team after it becomes clear that they may have certain plans for the women of the group. She’s got the heart of a warrior and the skills to match.
The world post-asteroid is absolutely terrifying (to put it mildly.) People are succumbing to their baser instincts, including, but not limited to, rape, human slavery, and cannibalism. The food is running out and the weak are no match for those strong of will and evil of heart. Don’t worry, there are some shining souls in this blasted world, but they’re few and far between. The author is very good at the little details, which sometimes get lost in a book of this scope and length, and he obviously did his research into group dynamics and the psychology of post traumatic stress syndrome. The action is nearly nonstop and the fight scenes are choreographed to the hilt. I never lost my place, even when the action got particularly frenzied.
Cannibal Reign is not for the faint of heart, and even though things never get gratuitous, the author doesn’t pull any punches here. What makes things even more terrifying is that the horrors are perpetrated by thinking (I use this term lightly) humans that have devolved into vicious animals. To be sure, things are very, very dark and heartbreaking, but underneath it all, there are glimmers of hope, and the author never loses sight of that. Where there is hope, there is light, and our heroes (and heroines) will do anything to find it for those they love. Cannibal Reign is a scary, nonstop thrill ride into the dark hearts of man, shot through with the souls of those that refuse to surrender to the dark. I loved this book, and fans of post apocalyptic fiction and thrillers should not miss it! I can’t wait for the next one!
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