Year One

A viral plague strikes Earth, killing billions of people. Those left are thrust into a chaotic world where the normal conventions of life--electricity, running water, food production, television and the Internet--have ceased, leaving the survivors to fend for themselves. Some lean toward the dark side, letting loose the evil that's lurked inside them, joining groups of Raiders and Purity Warriors. Others discover they are filled with light and gifted with magical powers that they must learn to use if they hope to live another day; their kind, called The Uncanny, includes fairies, elves, witches and shape-shifters. Still others remain simply human, but they, too, gravitate toward good or evil. All struggle to find balance in this new world where most have lost loved ones.

Nora Roberts, famous for her romance novels, enters a new writing genre with Year One. With this post-apocalyptic fantasy, she focuses on one band of survivors as she deftly builds her post-Doom world, giving readers a rich view of the gradual destruction dealt to the world's infrastructures and humanity. She includes the graphic and gory results of the twisted Raiders, as well as bits of satisfying romance from The Uncanny. An abrupt turn near the end leaves the door open for book two. Despite some disorienting leaps in point of view, Roberts has written an entertaining and enjoyable fantasy. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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