At the End of the World, Hope Resides in Nora Roberts’ ‘Year One’ [REVIEW]

Crow

In Nora Roberts’ apocalyptic novel Year One, crows watch over mankind as a deadly contagion spreads across the globe with devastating speed. (Photo courtesy Paul King, Flickr)

Queen of romantic suspense, Nora Roberts, begins a captivating new chapter in her career with the publication of Year One, the first installment of the Chronicles of The One series. Here she weaves together a dark and startling tapestry of chaos, fear, survival, and hope. This is a novel that feels all too real, which tears at our core values and resonates with our worst nightmares. After all, how many of us hold our breath every time we watch the news, expecting the last shoe to drop? But no one could ever foresee the world ending quite like this. 

Nora Roberts' YEAR ONE

St. Martin’s Press

Soon after a family gathers in Scotland for an annual celebration filled with laughter, food and lots of good cheer, each member of the clan returns to their own corner of the globe to resume life as usual. But what they don’t realize is that they are about to spread a contagion known as the Doom, a virus that decimates mankind at an alarming rate, and which will ultimately wipe out a vast chunk of humanity.

Soon, as the body count rises, governments crumble. Travel halts. Utilities and communication infrastructures barely flicker with life. Food becomes scarce and medical personnel are in short supply. Life as we know it ceases to exist, and suddenly the few who survive this epic plague realize they must flee for their lives before they are discovered by crazed raiders who plunder and kill with glee.

Among the survivors are chef Lana Bingham and her lover, novelist Max Fallon; journalist Arlys Reid and her intern Fred; a tech genius and hacker named Chuck; Dr. Rachel Hopman, paramedic Jonah Vorhies, and the young mother they’ve sworn to save, Katie Parsoni. While most of them do not know each other, all of them must escape New York and head West if they hope to survive. But getting out of Manhattan is easier said than done with little more to go on than a spark of hope, especially as danger lurks at every turn and seemingly no one can be trusted. Where will they go? How will they withstand the nightmare? And will anyone find a cure for the Doom before all is lost forever? Find out in Year One!

Although this is a clear departure from her romantic suspense novels of the past, this first volume in the Chronicles of The One will not come as a total surprise to those faithful fans who enjoyed reading some of Roberts’ more thrilling stories which blend fantasy and reality to create vibrant adventures where heroic characters find themselves pitted against ruthless villains. After all, the Guardians trilogy seems like it served as a definite launch pad for this new series. Be that as it may, Year One explodes out of the gate like a rocket, and it is utterly enthralling!

The cast of characters is wide and varied, each of their lives destined to intersect, although how and when that happens makes for a riveting read. While I don’t want to drop any spoilers here, I will say that this is among my favorite kind of epic novel. Think Dean Koontz’s Strangers, Stephen King’s The Stand, or even J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Characters from all walks of life come together for a common purpose, to face off between good and evil, and within the tale’s pages anything can happen and people are seldom what they seem, which means that each new chapter is simply brimming over with surprises! But like when reading those aforementioned titles, just realize going in that you may want to keep notes in order to keep up with who all the players are. There are a lot, and the further you read the more you meet.

This is a novel that will have you biting your nails down to the quick as the suspense builds, the nightmare grows, and the terror becomes so real it tempts you to throw the book across the room. So much is at stake here, and yet that is what makes Year One such a satisfying introduction to the world Roberts’ constructs. By the time readers close this volume, they’ll want to gobble up the next, and true to form, Nora keeps us avid fans craving more because even in the midst of so much dark, she sprinkles in wonder, light, and memorable moments of grace. This is an author at the top of her game, one who has earned her right to take chances and tell stories that will stretch and challenge her most faithful reader. But don’t fret, she makes the journey a worthwhile one, never making us doubt that we are in very capable hands.

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Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts
(Photo by Bruce Wilder)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nora Roberts is the number one New York Times bestselling author of more than 217 novels, including Come SundownThe ObsessionThe LiarThe Collector, and many more.

She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently, The New Yorker called her “America’s Favorite Novelist.”

Roberts lives in the small town of Boonsboro, Maryland with her husband, Bruce Wilder. She invites readers to visit her home on the Web at NoraRoberts.com, to like her on Facebook and follow her on Pinterest.

YEAR ONE
By Nora Roberts
419 pp. St. Martin’s Press. $27.99

Purchase Year One at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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