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November 2002
2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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The Apocalypse Door by James D. Macdonald
or Hardcover: ISBN
0312869886 PubDate Nov 02
Review by Bruce Wallace
224 pages List price $22.95  
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In The Apocalypse Door James Macdonald gives us a second helping of the treat that Terry Brooks gave us in his Knight of the Word series. We are shown in detail that not only evil but some good as well lurks in shadows best left unchecked by the likes of you and I. For as we read the pages of this too brief tale we realize that when evil rears its head, it's best to leave it to the experts.

In Terry Brooks' Knight of the Word series a Warrior is chosen by the Lady of the Lake and armed with magical powers and equally magical sword. In The  Apocalypse Door we find Peter Crossman and his fellow Knights Templar and their sometime allies, the Poor Clares have that duty. Also known as the virgin brides of Christ, the Poor Clares are well represented by special agent Mary Magdalene, AKA the fun nun with the gun. They use holy water, thermite and any firearms available to achieve the same end.

The novel begins with Peter and Simon searching for a team of missing UN peacekeepers in a Newark self-storage facility. The peacekeepers are not to be found. However they discover a crate full of mushrooms that recoil when the sign of the cross is made. It is not a great leap to surmise that the virulent fungi played a role in their demise. The two make their escape from the storage facility and make their way to a seedy waterfront bar to meet with their mission controller to be debriefed. The controller never shows, instead Mary Magdalene appears at Peters side with a gun announcing her intention to terminate him. This plan is short circuited by Simon and the three leave the bar together. It is here that the mission goes wildly astray. After a quick exit from the bar, the three discover a faceless body in an alley. They agree that to continue to make their escape together. After they report their findings to their individual superiors they are forced to join forces for the duration.

What follows is a wild tale involving aliens, time travel, and talking heads. The possibility of eternal damnation and the totality of Armageddon are also in the cards. James Macdonald has offered up a novel full of promise that delivers it all in the end. The inclusion of an odd series of flashbacks made the book a tad confusing, but always engaging.  I found this to be a tale that kept me guessing and well entertained until the final stunning conclusion.

sfr3d.gif (19860 bytes) 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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