Year One by Nora Roberts – Book

 

Nora Roberts, author of Year One usually writes romance novels. I do enjoy a good romance novel. It doesn’t necessarily give your brain a workout but it sends you on an emotional journey that often ends in a happy sigh and a temporary uplift in your spirts. Lately I forgo the brief jolt of endorphins offered by fake joy for books with a more mental punch. But I will say that I think even fake joy can make your day. This time Nora Roberts goes off the chart and gives us an apocalypse. Even if it still encompasses a good deal of romance, there is also suspense and grief and magic and black magic, and this is only the first book of a trilogy, The Chronicles of the One. One of my sisters passed this book on to me.

The story begins in Scotland where Ross MacLeod, who now resides in NYC, visits the family farm in Dumfries, Scotland which has been in the family for over two hundred years. Ross goes for a walk on his land and changes the world when he shoots a pheasant that lands in a magic circle and activates an old blood sacrifice he accidentally contributed to fifty years earlier, simply by tripping and scraping a hand on a stone that sits in that ancient stone circle on the property. Ross is a bit freaked by the circling of crows above the site but he is no believer in magic. When he gets very ill he thinks it is a flu virus. Then he dies. Soon this untreatable and incurable disease, named the Doom, begins to spread as rapidly as people move around the globe these days.

The grief people feel is enormous. Max and Lana, newly in love and experimenting with some talents they seem to possess which indicate they might be witches, do not sense the enormity of the escalating depopulation right away. For a moment they are a spot of joy in a city that is being devastated by disease and looting and violence. Lana is a chef, Max a writer. Arlys, a newscaster on a popular NYC stations has been promoted to the main news desk by default. She offers daily news to anyone who is still listening. Fred is an intern who works with Arlys and who has a secret which might help explain her effervescent personality. One day Arlys is given reasons to tell her listeners the real news, which is far more frightening than what she is used to offering. Rachel is a doctor, Jonah an EMT. They are trying to run a hospital with fewer and fewer staff, and patients they are unable to save.

When these New Yorkers finally accept that they must leave their beloved city and travel to more rural areas we see them depart in pairs to look for more people who have survived the Doom. Why some people survive while others do not is something that has no satisfactory answer. Some survivors have found that they now have magical talents. Fred’s secret is that she is a faerie with wings and a sprightly spirit that makes her quite lovable. Max and Lana find that they have become more talented witches than they ever were before. Some people find they are elves. And yet some people like Rachel and Arlys have no discernible magical talents and yet they survive.

Getting out of New York is not an easy thing for anyone. It turns out that magical people, like normal people can use their talents for good or for evil. Many survivors have turned to evil and can harm magical people who strive to be good if they catch them off guard or if their talents are unequal. There are also the usual gangs that thrive on chaos. Traveling is scary and dangerous and there is more safety in numbers. Eventually all these New Yorkers meet, not quite by accident in a new community that is taking shape in New Hope, Virginia.

There is social commentary here. The Uncanny, as the magical humans are named, become “the other” and are feared by intolerant humans who cannot accept people with magical talents as neighbors. They taunt them and troll them and make sharing a community uncomfortable and sometimes worse things happen when the intolerants do more than use their words.

As soon as the internet is partially restored this message is posted:  “If you are reading this, you are one of the chosen. No doubt you have lost those dear to you and have felt, many still know, despair. No doubt you have witnessed firsthand the abominations that have desecrated the world Our Lord created. You may believe the End Times are upon us. But take heart! You are not alone! Have faith! Have courage! We who survived this demonic plague wrought by Satan’s Children face a Great Test. Only we can defend our world, our lives our very souls. Arm yourselves and join The Holy Crusade.” The Purity Warriors

The Purity Warriors pretend to save the world in the name of religion but they actually spread terror and violent rape and death, especially targeting the Uncanny. But Lana is carrying The One. Will she bear the child in safety to grow to her full powers? How will she change the sad equation in a ruined world? Good stuff for real, even if it seems to have a bit too much sugar on top.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search, Parade

Find me on goodreads.com as Nancy Brisson

Engineering the Apocalypse

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Republicans find it difficult to believe that human activity can affect earth’s climate. They have their own reasons for this point of view, which seem to depend more on economics than science. They argue that puny humans are like fleas to forces as great as the ones that run the cosmos. (Well tell that to the sea birds who are feeding their babies plastic pellets.) But apparently, Evangelicals have more power at their command than the average human. They believe they can engineer the apocalypse.

So when Evangelicals (not all, some) try to move the pace of world events along more briskly in order to hurry along the “end times” as depicted in Revelations, they are happy to believe that certain Christian humans can speed up the pace of the universe and make the Rapture and the Millennium happen now – predetermination be damned. Suddenly puny humans are not depicted as quite so helpless.

No wonder Evangelicals are all smiles now that Trump has moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem. Palestinians have no role in the events leading up to the “end times”. However, Israel, according to whoever authored Revelations (of course, with divine input), has an enormous role to play in the end times. Even though Jews who refuse to convert will not survive, the establishment of a Jewish state in Jerusalem is key to the apocalypse, which follows the saving of the saved, the 2ndcoming of the Messiah, and the 1000 years of theocracy that precede the apocalypse on the “end of days” timeline.

An article in the Daily Beast examines this particular corner of the Evangelical movement. Apparently these beliefs have been held to be secrets, although Michele Bachmann used to go on about “the Rapture” with a big old stoned-looking rapturous smile on her face as her party shut down the government. Secrecy is hardly an issue, though, when the timeline of events leading up to the return of the Messiah and subsequent events are available for anyone to see in the Bible and in the 497,000 hits on this topic which result from an internet search.

According to Candida Moss, writing on 5/19/2018 in the DailyBeast this particular set/sect of Evangelicals believes that Hitler did Christians a favor when he killed the Jews in the Holocaust because the backlash against his actions gave the world the state of Israel, an important step towards the end of days. (Except, I always believed that Christians, who follow the examples of Jesus, could never be this self-absorbed.)

I remember some awe expressed in religious circles when the EU was formed – another prerequisite met on the way to the Rapture. Evangelicals are certain that they will be taken up to heaven right then and there, before mass destruction is even on the menu. There are a few pesky details about the number of nations who have to be in the EU to meet the requirements for the end of days. There is a bit of a debate about whether the number has been met. Did Brexit mess up the grand design of the Evangelicals?

These fairly extreme Evangelicals are, sadly for us, quite political because, in order to tamper with world events, they need governments to help. They apparently believe that Donald Trump will help speed up the 2ndcoming because he has promised to do just that. They have fed Donald their “party line” and he buys it. No wonder he is not worried about climate change. He may also be waiting for the Rapture.

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Surely God will bring us the end times before climate change can rob God of his dramatic finale. Donald understands show business. He seems willing to help speed up the milestone events that will lead to those end days, the days that Evangelicals say will favor them above all others. This time they think they are the “chosen ones”. And they seem to have made Donald an honorary Evangelical.

However, we wonder, can Evangelicals make the end arrive faster by having humans engineer the steps on the pathway to apocalypse, or do they have to occur organically? If human activity cannot cause climate change how can human scheming hasten the end the Lord has designed? If you see Evangelicals piling on to events that seem unrelated to them, check your Bible. We’re very close apparently. This sounds like a conspiracy theory but it might be an actual, although wacky, strategy.

I don’t know about you but I have never wanted to live in a theocracy, so I am fairly certain where I will be heading come the Millennium. If these people, with their Evangelical privilege, are correct about their place in the Christian hegemony I will be more than happy to miss that spectacle.

This video explores some other possible relationships between Evangelicals and Trump:

 

Take a Breather

Even as “he who must not be named” deconstructs the America I know and love I accept that I occasionally need to find some lighter moments. A steady diet of jaw-dropping incredulity does not stop any of the barrage of depressing information emanating from the White House Sharpie pen wielder or offer any magical solutions to our current orangy dilemma. So what does one do to take a breather as the world wobbles around us?

I usually read a lot, in fact I am a member of Goodreads.com where I often review about 40 books a year, but I am having trouble settling down to read a book. TV is a great wasteland for the most part. Even if I hadn’t watched every episode of NCIS about 15 times they have replaced the reruns most evenings with Law and Order Special Victims Unit which I cannot watch or the WWF which is also not my cup of tea. I have been reduced, on some evenings to watching Chopped on the Food Channel.

I used to watch news all day, every day, but I can no longer tolerate watching any of the media news people who helped demonize Hillary and left us with DT. So I watch Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Joy Reid and that is all. It is well worth it and not just for the politics.

Rachel offered me a new tidbit to add to one of my favorite news topics, science. She mentioned that two guys may have managed to make metallic hydrogen which is extremely difficult to make, and they made it without cooling hydrogen. They made it by applying pressure in a device they invented, using industrial diamonds. What will we manage to use metallic hydrogen for? As with most discoveries it will probably turn out to be both a blessing and a curse. But it may turn out to be the key to a very efficient space fuel. So I find such speculations come under the category of fun.

There are some great movies out right now but it is cold and I have no one to play with since everyone is at work and wants to spend the weekends wrapped up in blankets at home watching sports, which do not entertain me (except ice skating). Eating out is good for taking the mind off the apocalypse, as is shopping, within reason. Music also is quite helpful.

I hope you are finding ways to stay sane with madness all around. Acting like all is normal for brief periods of time refreshes me enough that I can tune in once again to the parade of poor judgment and the possible demise of our democracy, and to my finances which I am worried will soon take a hit.

Perhaps I should use some of my time to come up with a survival plan, or to learn to fire a gun. It is nice to have more options for future adventures.  What are you doing to decompress?