Shield Down
by William de Berg
Trafford Publishing

"As she was about to sit down, Jackson suddenly became transfixed by one of the computer screens as it lit up with a huge spike..."

In this dystopian work, Earth is threatened by a major "star quake," as SGR 0245+05 seems about to erupt. Astrophysicist James Templeton is summoned to Washington, D.C., for meetings about the probability of a major disaster that could destroy much of the planet. The formerly maligned Templeton discovers that, despite their discredit of his predictions of a decade before, NASA has demonstrated its belief in the veracity of Templeton's findings by having built mini-cities underground in the U.S. The magnetar, +05, strikes Earth, and a small number of people find safety. Humans surface after two hundred years to begin life again. Have humans, once again in conflict, learned anything about themselves and the care of their environment?

Dystopian novels seem to have a pertinent place in literature in their warnings of destruction that usually are caused by humanity in physical forms, psychological forms, or both. The questions, "Can the destruction be averted?" and "What can we do?" seem less important than whether or not humans can learn and adapt to circumstances while there is still time. Author de Berg is a master of the dystopian story. His novels, "a mix of historical facts and analysis wrapped up in thrilling action and suspense," include plots of the control of media, drug trafficking by the CIA, the reactionary anti-U.S.S.R. Bilderberger Group, the story behind the attacks on the World Trade Center, and wars fought over the control of oil. This book, like the author's other tales, is an intriguing foray into human psychology. His storyline, though set in the future, reflects modern sensibilities and could hold universal appeal.

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