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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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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!!!

35 of 40 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......

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

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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.

19 of 23 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.

14 of 17 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.

27 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Piper
  • Washington
  • 12-08-17

surprisingly good

This is different than other Nora Roberts books I've read. My only problem finishing this book is I didn't realize it is part of a series and now I have to wait!

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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interesting but predictable

Unfortunately, this story parallels The Walking Dead. it's too similar to be unique and the magical aspect is promising, but disappointingly lacking throughout the entire book. I will listen to the second book, as the epilogue hinted at a more magical and spirit-world storyline than the apocolypse/scavenging storyline that mimics TWD seasons 1-3.

The narrator puts forth good, believable, emotion (I actually teared up twice), but has a hard time imprinting each character their own, definable, unique voice. Most men have the exact same voice, so you'll need to pay attention to the names in order to follow along; same with the women.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ripoff of The Stand

Ms. Roberts apparently is all out of original ideas. This was very derivative of Stephen King’s The Stand. Granted, all post-apocalyptic stories would have some things in common, but she borrowed LOTS of elements from The Stand—the spread of the disease, a journey through tunnels, some character types, and getting the power back on, just to name a few. To make matters worse,the character development here was very shallow. There are too many characters popping in and out, and there’s a baffling bait and switch with the main couple, which is not at all satisfying. Finally, I can do without the political agenda. “K. Rove” as the chief narrow-minded and bigoted bad guy? Cheap shot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Gloomy...

I have never written a book review before but since I look forward to every Nora Roberts book with such anticipation and imagine others do as well, I wanted her fans to know that this is NOT her typical story!While this book is good, it is not at all what I had expected from Roberts. It is very dark, violent and lacks the lightness and hopefulness of many of her books. It has a distinct horror aspect that I was not expecting! Also, those of you who have read The Stand by Stephen King will certainly see some similarities...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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New direction for Nora Roberts

I'm a long time fan of Nora Roberts/J.D.Robb, and have read almost everything she's written. In the first installation of a new series, she has gone a new direction--and I loved the journey. Dark as some of her more recent books have been, this apocalyptic vision of a possible future is darker still. Roberts brings her considerable strength in narrative and characters to this story, and I loved the result.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • clint ariti
  • 12-17-17

Not great

Disappointing. Mass produced. Nora is definitely going for quantity not quality with her books. Will not bother with volume 2.

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  • JennyRay
  • 12-16-17

Great Book

New take on End times with a magical twisi. Good versus evil at every turn.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-14-17

Loved it.

Great story with the unexpected happening each step. I loved it and look forward to book 2

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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.