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The Omega Point: Beyond 2012 by Whitley Strieber
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765323347
Date: 22 June 2010 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

On December 21, 2012, the world waited for the pandemic disaster that would marked its end. The prophets were proved false when December 22, 2012 rolled around with nothing major having occurred. The doomsday gurus became laughingstocks, a sort of internationally scorned Peter and the Wolf types.

However, something significant did happen on that day, but was so tiny in the vastness of space it had gone undetected. A supernova occurred in the distant past and released energy that on December 21, 2012 made first contact with our solar system. This new energy has begun to grow absorbing all in its path. Now two years since doomsday never came, solar storms caused by the new energy batter the planet. The wealthy take refuge underground; the middle class and poor pray for a miracle.

In 2020 in West Virginia, on his first day on the job at the Acton Clinic, chief psychiatrist Dr. David Ford learns the full extent of his position. His superior Aubrey Denman explains that besides his medical role, he has a more critical job. He must defend the clinic's top secret mission to save the planet from the outer space assault by keeping the Acton Clinic safe from affluent insidious enemies like the Seven Families who control the earth's wealth.

Ford is stunned when Denman dies in a car bomb explosion. He struggles to understand what is going on especially when the clinic's Caroline Light insists humanity needs him. Trusting no one even those inside the clinic, Ford concludes December 21, 2012 was the alpha that is now heading to The Omega Point when time will have run out.

This direct sequel is an exciting, fast-paced science fiction thriller that is light years over the top of Olympus Mons. The story line focuses on the threat from the supernova depleting and replacing the planet's atmosphere, which would destroy life as we know it. The premise is solid and when Whitley Strieber adheres to it, the tale reads like a powerful doomsday thriller, a sort of near future On the Beach. When the plot brings in biblical references and other commentary, it loses some of its end of the world focus.

Ford is a terrific lead character who is bewildered and stunned as he learns what is going on inside the Acton Clinic and outside. He struggles with a job that he fears he is too incompetent to handle and when Denman is murdered by an assassin, his doubts expand beyond that of the biblical Thomas. Still, he refuses to quit though the weight of the world on his shoulders gets heavier with every tick to the Omega Point of no return. The support cast like Caroline and Mack the former CIA field agent add depth, but also distract from the prime theme.

This is a fun, engrossing and electrifying tale though not as taut as its predecessor, 2012: The War for Souls as the novel tends to lose focus at times with intrusive biblical extras. Still, fans of end of the world thrillers like Mr. Strieber's Superstorm will enjoy Ford and company trying to save the world; who ironically have powerful misguided people trying to prevent them from doing so.

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