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Publisher's Summary

It is known as National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51. Signed in 2007, it claims specific Federal powers in the event of a “catastrophic emergency”…

Heather O’Grainne is the assistant secretary in the Office of Future Threat Assessment, investigating rumors surrounding something called “Daybreak.” Part philosophic discussion, part international terrorist faction, and part artists’ movement, it’s a group of diverse people with radical ideas who have only one thing in common — their hatred for the Big System and their desire to take it down. Until Heather can determine whether these people are all talk and no action, she wants to keep this information from going public.

But Daybreak is about to become a lot less secret. Seemingly random events in a recycling facility in Wyoming, on an island off the coast of California, and in Jayapura, Indonesia — where the plane carrying the Vice President has suddenly vanished — are in fact connected as part of a plan to destroy modern civilization.

America is at the dawn of a new primitive age — an age that will eliminate the country’s top government personnel, leaving the nation no choice but to implement its emergency contingency program: Directive 51.

©2010 John Barnes (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Very disappointing, don't waste your credit.

An increasingly common apocalyptic scenario which is poorly played out in the sappy relationships and even worse philosophical meanderings of the cut-out characters. Stilted, unrealistic dialogue, irrelevant plot lines and incredibly unexplained events abound. Spoiler alert: How do robots on the moon ever build fusion bombs to send to earth with technology just a few years in our future, and nobody in the top echelons of government knew about it? I also found myself irritated with the narrator who either over enunciated or tried to mimic voices she heard on cheap sit-coms.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Unexpectedly Bad

I have greatly enjoyed past books by John Barnes, notably, "The Mother Of Storms" and "Finity" (both not on audio, sadly). This book was a complete mess and a true struggle to get all of the way through. It follows the standard End of the World/Civilisation is Shattered storyline but slaps you with a wildly implausible cause. The characters are two dimensional, cliche'd and at no point did I begin to identify or care about them. The story spirals into an overly political mish-mash which comes off as a whiney high school slap-fight. The author tries to take a middle of the road approach politically, but caracaturizes both liberal and conservative sides into fringe stereotypes of the worst kind. The narrator amplifies the stilted prose into grueling aural assault. I was excited at first to be able to listen to a book by an author I had liked so much in the past...now I am just sad.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • John
  • AURORA, CO, United States
  • 08-28-12

Dry, dry dry...

What would have made Directive 51 better?

There wasn't much in the way of charactor development, and the story just dragged on and on.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • paul
  • big pine, CA, United States
  • 09-27-10

needs a different voice (or ten)

this novel has an outlandish plot, 'developed' in a series of vignettes scattered across the globe, each containing multiple 'characters' (largely clichéd). This would be confusing in any audio production; this one, however, suffers additionally from the limited range of the narrator's voice. The reader's voice seemed an odd choice from the opening pages, having an annoying timbre best reserved for women's prison warden, though it softened up a bit after a while and wasn't too bad, though far too fast. What complicates matters, though, is the narrator's limited vocal range, making all the disparate characters sound very much alike, especially as she tends to begin a new bit of dialogue in an imitation of another voice, but rapidly slinks back to her own. Not a very good book to start with, combined with a discordant reading, it's no wonder so many hours cost so little.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The Narator make all the difference in some books.

What would have made Directive 51 better?

A more engaging narrator.

What could John Barnes have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Found a different narrator.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Susan Ericksen?

George Guidall or Scott Brick

Any additional comments?

I was very disappointed. The narrator actually put me to sleep with monotone dialog and no inflection of note when portraying the various characters.<br/>I would compare her to the teacher from Ferris Buellers Day Off but he was actually engaging in comparison.<br/>I read & listen to a large number of books, subsequently I did not get to this one in time to return it, but would have if I could. I essentially wasted my money in buying this one and will have to make note to not purchase any with this narrator in the future.<br/>I have the hard cover and intent to read that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Just got worse and worse!

Dear God how boring. This books was about seven ideas of completely different novels wrapped into one, and none of them were really interesting. I couldn’t even finish it. The narrator was horrendous, every single paragraph read in the same way, with three second pauses at each comma. Very annoying. I wouldn’t even give it one star. Everything about this book was bad, main characters, plot, descriptions, political talk ad nauseam, waaaaay to much tech, useless fluff characters, and on and on. Just don’t. Save yourself the credit and time.

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  • Story

Great book!

Very interesting story. You really get to know the characters without them being predictable. Highly recommend!

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  • Wil Dobson
  • N. Richland Hills, TX United States
  • 07-08-17

apocalyptic political sci-fi mystery who-done-it

I am frankly more interested on the technological process on how the modern world came to an end than the constitutionality of rebuilding a nation after no line of succession is left, but at least it is an apocalyptic political sci-fi mystery who-done-it.