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Publisher's Summary

A stunning new novel from the number-one New York Times best-selling author - an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives...

It began on New Year's Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed - and more than half of the world's population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river - or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

©2017 Nora Roberts (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Magical Apocalypse "Lite"

I would give this about 2.5 stars if possible.

I am a Nora Roberts fan but not a romance fan. She is one of the very few authors in that genre that I will read. Fantasy/Horror type genres are much more up my alley. So I was pretty excited when I saw that Nora Roberts was releasing a book that was more to my usual tastes.

I REALLY wanted to like this book more. But I found it rather underwhelming.

Now, I wasn't expecting a lot of explicit violence and gory details. But.

It is very much in the vein of iconic books like The Stand or Swan Song. There were even shades of The Walking Dead, in setting more than in the zombie apocalypse sense. The fact is that this was one of the most boring apocalypse scenarios that I've ever read.

The story is told from rather a distant POV. We get very little of the nitty gritty detail of what it would actually be like to live through end-of-the-world-via-plague like you get in The Stand or even TWD. We have the same exit from New York scenario that is standard fare, but apart from a rather awkwardly-worked-in single scene, it's nothing like the harrowing journeys that make you really feel you are by the character's side, and bond with them, and root for them. You get no sense of the daily reality of what it is actually like to LIVE in a post-apocalyptic world.

The same can be said of the "magical" element. People seem to mostly take it for granted that wow, suddenly now people are sprouting wings and hurling fireballs. It's all very ho-hum. The reaction is similar to what you might expect if suddenly discovering a talent for painting, or playing the trumpet. I tell you, if I suddenly sprouted wings and discovered that I was in fact a human-sized faerie, it'd have a hell of lot more impact on my life, my way of thinking about the word and interacting with it!

Then, there seems to be little actual point to the appearance of all this magical ability. It doesn't play much of a part in the story, other than as a dividing wedge between "normals" and "uncanny". We don't get any kind of intimate insights into how it changes people or changes the situation.

Maybe the way this book was written has to do with Nora Robert's usual fanbase and the kind of writing and subject matter they are used to. That's not a put-down, but I generally don't go to NR for gritty realism and heart-pounding adventure. It's kind of like an "Apocalypse Lite" kind of story. Which is understandable and fine if that's what they were shooting for. If the story is geared toward drawing in readers who aren't normally Nora Roberts fans, then not so much.

Seeing as this is her first book dealing with this kind of subject matter I'm still willing to try the next book. Hopefully it will be a bit deeper as far as connecting me to the characters and making me really believe I am experiencing the story along with them.

98 of 114 people found this review helpful

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best APOCALYPTIC book yet!!!!

If you like books with apocalyptic themes, then you will love this book. There is no doubt this is a 5 star book. You cant ask for a better narrator, Julia Whelan does a flawless job of reading the large variety of voices. This novel is full of heartbreaking scenes and conflict. So readers/listeners be mindful of this, because Nora Roberts does a fabulous job of emotionally attaching you to the characters.

I would have to say its not necessarily a "new" idea for a series, but still wrote in a different and captivating way. bottom line is buy this book and you will not be disappointed. i will definitely be getting the next book!!!

69 of 82 people found this review helpful

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  • Denice
  • Boise, ID, United States
  • 12-06-17

Tears of joy and sadness

It made me cry and that does not happen often. Tears of joy and sadness. Great story with so much death, hatred, kindness and love. Not matter what happens in real life or fiction these attributes persist in mankind. Good vs evil. Magical vs non-magical......

55 of 71 people found this review helpful

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Not for me!!

I hated this book & couldn't finish it. I read for pleasure, not stress & fear.
Performance was OK but storyline just not what I enjoy at all. I love Nora Roberts books because the ones I've read leave me happy & content.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Novice

Feels like a first try for a new author. The beginning was good enough but towards the middle the story just becomes muddled and silly. I’m trying to finish it but I’ve definitely lost interest.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Who are these characters?

In the interest of full disclosure, I was working while listening to this audiobook. It’s possible that I’ve missed some parts but that said, none of the characters in this story are terribly remarkable. By while I mean at any given point I wasn’t sure who was who. Nothing truly set anyone apart. Nora Roberts does an alright job with setting a scene but the world building and character development were incredibly underwhelming. That narrator does fine given the content, and I appreciate her use of different voices, though she really only seems to have two.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed

Content was fantastic definitely different than other apocalyptic novels. Love the characters and content. Left me wanting to keep listening. Love that Julia did the narration. I did not realize when I purchased the book but was very happy. Love her work, her voice and tones. Can’t wait for next book.

16 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Disjointed

Any additional comments?

I'm normally a fan of Nora Roberts. However, this book is very disjointed. I almost felt like I was reading two different books. It started out promising, but quickly dissolved in predictable surface character development. I understand that this is the first book of a trilogy - maybe it will get better in the next one

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Waaay too dark

Although I think I have read/heard everything Ms. Roberts has written from day one (pun not intended), I could not get through more than half this book. I tried both audible and written form- no luck. She has walked a fine line on becoming too dark in other books, including her “In Death” series, but this book stomped all over that line until there was no trace. I am sure that there are MANY others that will write positive reviews, but I cannot. It was well crafted, as always, but waaay to dark for me to enjoy. Out of the thousands of books I have read over my lifetime, I have only been moved to write one other negative review. I am sorry it was for Nora Roberts. There was nothing entertaining or.... nope, there was just nothing.

38 of 58 people found this review helpful

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If you like The Stand you’ll wonder why you didn’t just re-read that

As someone who loves a good story about the apocalypse and supernatural forces, I enjoyed this book simply (and only) based on those attributes. The story was absolutely derivative, in fact several plot points almost felt like fan fiction versions of The Stand (I’ve read The Stand at least six times, trust me on this point). It was totally obvious to anyone with half a brain what the major plot points would be (who would live/die, etc). I did like the addition of the overt supernatural forces and beings, but the supernatural aspects of the world felt very poorly developed and relied heavily on tropes. So far in this series there’s nothing original or even compelling about the story, but it was vaguely entertaining the way you find an innocuous Hallmark Christmas movie to be pleasantly generic background noise while wrapping Xmas gifts. With all that said, I will most likely get the second in the series because I enjoy pleasantly generic background noise on my commute and I like the topic.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Karl
  • 01-15-18

Not up to NR’s usual standard

Very disappointing storyline & character development. Have enjoyed NR’s books in the past and especially the Circle Trilogy & was hoping this would be an apocalypse/fantasy mashup but this book had no life, no depth to the characters or storyline. Will be returning it as would never listen again.

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  • Minnou BH
  • 01-06-18

Wonderful

Loved every bit of this book, Always like this author but hope this is not the last of this genre that she writes.

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  • Jo
  • 12-15-17

Fantastic

I am new to this author but will definitely try some of her other books now.
A nice twist on the survival/apocalypse genre and I greatly look forward to the next in the ser

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  • Brenda Hatton
  • 12-11-17

Excellent

A cracking start to the series as we've come to expect from Nora ,and she never disappoints. I hope we here about those in Hope as well as those lovely swift family.

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  • Sonia
  • 12-12-17

Great book

This would have to rate as one of the best Nora Roberts books I have read.

Engaging characters and interesting story, with a twist on the end of the world story line.

I can't wait for the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cathy
  • 01-17-18

Wow!

I LOVED this book! It has been ages since I felt sad to finish a book. The story and performance were amazing. There had better be a sequel!

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  • Fleur
  • 01-12-18

predictable

not my type of story. if u like end of world stories then this book is repetitive. same themes that we have read/watched. the womens voice annoyed me. but for some reason i kept listening.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-12-18

Fantastic Read

Best book I have listened to for a long time. Beautiful energy to the characters.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-08-18

Solid sci-fi and fantasy combination

Good narrator and interesting sci-fi fantasy crossover in the book. Would have preferred a greater focus on the sci-fi (pandemic) side of things, but I still found the fantasy parts really enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-08-18

Not a dull moment

Loved this from start to finish, nothing like anything of he rs I have read in the past.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-05-18

Hurry up with the sequel.

Loved this book and the narrator. I hope the next book is on the way soon. Interesting and scary and well written.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-26-17

Fantastic

This book was great thrilling plot and interesting characters I cant wait to read more hurry up year 2

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  • CAROL PARKER
  • 12-26-17

Year One

I loved it was sorry when it ended it was set at a fast pace and entertaining

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-20-17

Loved it, can't wait for book two!

Great great story. Great narratir too. How long do I have to wait for book two? :(