Thursday, August 18, 2011

Want a good read?

I'd like to say this is the first in a series of edumacational blog posts about my favourite authors, or great books that I've read, but it isn't.

It's a one off recommendation of a fabulous Australian contemporary author by the name of John Birmingham.  

Amongst other works Mr Birmingham is responsible for the hugely successful He Died With A Felafel in His Hand, Leviathan, the unauthorised biography of the city of Sydney, and my personal favourites - the amazing Without Warning and After America.

I can't even remember how I first became aware of his writing - it was definitely via Twitter and may have been as a result of someone sharing a blog post.  

I know that I finished Without Warning in the ICU during that whole blood clot business, and was rapt to discover that I could get After America on my Kindle using the hospital's wi-fi!!

But I digress.

As we sit waiting now (im)patiently for the late October release of the third and final book in the Without Warning trilogy, Angels of Vengeance (thanks Random House) I decided it was worth putting "pen to paper" and suggesting that if you like books with meaty plots, great attention to detail and fabulously fleshed out characters, then this is the trilogy for you!

I'm going to cheat here, and grab the plot descriptions from - I would really hate to do them any disservice so here goes ...

Without Warning
July 6, 2010

In Kuwait, American forces are locked and loaded for the invasion of Iraq. In Paris, a covert agent is close to cracking a terrorist cell. And just north of the equator, a sailboat manned by a drug runner and a pirate is witness to the unspeakable. In one instant, all around the world, everything will change. A wave of inexplicable energy slams into the continental United States. America as we know it vanishes. From a Texas lawyer who happens to be in the right place at the right time to an engineer in Seattle who becomes his city’s only hope, from a combat journalist trapped in the Middle East to a drug runner off the Mexican coast, Without Warning tells a fast, furious story of survival, violence, and a new, soul-shattering reality.

After America
July 26, 2011
The world changed forever when a massive wave of energy slammed into North America and wiped out 99 percent of the population. As the United States lay in ruins, chaos erupted across the globe.
Now, while a skeleton American government tries to reconstruct the nation, swarms of pirates and foreign militias plunder the lawless wasteland where even the president is fair prey. In New York City, armies of heavily armed predators hold sway—and hold off a struggling U.S. military. In Texas, a rogue general bent on secession leads a brutal campaign against immigrants. And in England, a U.S. special ops agent enters a shadow war against a deadly enemy who has made the fight personal. While the president ponders a blitz attack on America’s once greatest city, the forces of order and anarchy wage all-out war for postapocalyptic dominance—and a handful of survivors must decide how far to go to salvage whatever uncertain future awaits . . . after America.

Even though they are rich in technical details of the weaponry and tactics, the books aren't crispy or boringly dry - the characters are described so well that you get the feeling that you know them - and as someone you know, you turn page after page to see what happens to them next. A good portion of the pivotal characters are women, strong, capable women, but by no means comic caricatures with golden lariats or tight pants!

So to quote Molly Meldrum .. "Do yourself a favour"  after reading these two books I just BET you'll then be joining us in our impatient queue!

You can also find @JohnBirmingham on Twitter, follow his Blunt Instrument blogs for the Brisbane Times and his own blog Cheeseburger Gothic here.

(PS.  The other book release details are on Cheeseburger Gothic!)

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