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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.

131 of 150 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!!!

82 of 97 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......

56 of 72 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.

13 of 17 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.

16 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.

16 of 23 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.

43 of 63 people found this review helpful

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Nope.

This is honestly one of, if not the WORST book I have ever read or listened to. The story had good potential in the beginning but then it quickly flattened out to a the dullest hours of my life. It was like listening to a poor narrative of the SIMS on auto-pilot. I had NO idea where this author was headed. I was not invested in any part of this story or it’s characters. It’s also the weirdest idea for a story. It merges a virus-induced apocalypse with fairies, witches, elves, and lots of lengthy descriptions of cooking and bread-making.
The author wasn’t too bad. Although her female voices are perfection, her male voices were just... awkward.
I want my credit and my time back.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Zero stars

Just terrible. The story is boring. I will definitely not continue this series. My apologies to the author

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dean
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 02-02-18

Gave up

First time ever I have quit a book half way in. I really tried to give it a chance. It’s all been done before with far less sapp.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan Defoe
  • 02-02-18

A great listen

A thoroughly good listen. I'm looking for Year 2 as I listen to the last 5 minutes.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-01-18

Easy, cheesy listening.

Easy to listen to but I found it very cheesy and cringe worthy. The story line (so far) is an unoriginal post apocalyptic landscape meander. I won't be buying the second book to find out if it gets more interesting.

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  • Mr
  • 01-31-18

Unoriginal start and loses it way at the end.

The start is so much a rip 0ff of the Stand. A lot of characters getting together and then seem to drop them without reason (the best character being Fred)'

The ending seemed to set up a sequel but was very unsatisfying.

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  • jj
  • 01-28-18

Great story

Really enjoyed this book, good fast moving story with likable characters. Looking forward to the next one.

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  • Philippa
  • 01-20-18

Great book with unexpected twists

Love it can’t wait until book 2 is available for the next instalment, Nora Roberts at her best

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  • Ms. A. Allin
  • 01-20-18

loved this book

the time flew by so quickly. it's a really good story and the reader enhanced my experience. I had quite a few sleepless nights after I just submerged myself into the story. it has horror, sadness, joy and love in it. some bits are really scary and I found them so disturbing that I would take a break for a day then go back to it. I really enjoyed the characters they were very true to human nature,. there were people who wanted to help each other and people filled with bitterness and hatred and people who were just really cruel for the sake of it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! it's a book I would read again and again. I have done that with some of Steven kings books and all of John Connelly's and some of Christopher brookmyers books. I think there might be more books to follow just by the way the story ended. I really hope there are more!

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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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  • 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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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  • Lee
  • 02-05-18

Awesome start to a new trilogy. ... can't wait for

Awesome start to a new trilogy. .... cant wait for the next book. makes one think.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-01-18

Great story, well written

I could not stop listening to this. Great narration and story telling.
Can not wait till book 2

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-30-18

Missed the mark

I think this one missed the mark for both the ‘apocalyptic’ genre and the ‘fantasy’ realm. Which is a shame as I really wanted to enjoy this book. It is obviously intended as part of a series and I don’t think I will be running out to buy ‘Year Two’. It was long winded with many repetitive descriptions and unfortunately the narrator was hard to listen to (although she was pretty good at voices). I finished, but it was a bit of a struggle.

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  • L. Compassi
  • 01-21-18

Excellent (almost!)

Book by Nora Roberts is great - very reminiscent of (and, no doubt paying homage to) The Stand by King, but with enough of its own voice and ideas to make it unique.
I found it very easy to come back to each listen and very addictive as it unfolded. Julia Whelan does a great job with the character voices and is particularly good at injecting the relevant emotion into their dialogue.
Looking forward to the next book!

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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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  • worldaboutsam
  • 01-15-18

Fantastic

Great narration.

Brilliant story sucked me right in. Something new for Nora but still has the same strong characters

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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.