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Angels of Vengeance (Without Warning) by John Birmingham
Cover Artist: Mike Bryan
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345502933
Date: 10 April 2012 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

America was greatly reduced by the Wave, and the rest of the world slides towards chaos. Chaos brings terror, destruction, and death. The wrongful death of a few brings the wrath of the living.

As the title suggests, this final volume of the series started in Without Warning, focuses mainly on the remaining female characters. Sofia Pieraro was slowly adjusting to life in Kansas City when her father was run down. Lady Julianne Balwyn was trying to lay low when assassins try to kill her. Caitlin Monroe is trying to make sure the man who tried to kill her family is really dead. Each alone works to bring justice, but together they accomplish more.

In addition to the ladies, James Kipper, forty-fourth President of the United States tries to hold things together. A new South American state is rising to challenge the USA in the West. The Middle East is in tatters after the nuclear destruction that came with the changing world dynamic. The loss of the US market devastates the Asian economies. And the American Debt that was troublesome is now crushing. But Kipper plans to rebuild, if only he can bring Blackstone into the fold.

The final book in this alternate reality has continuous action. Author Birmingham has George R.R. Martin-like tendency to kill off beloved main characters. These deaths make other main characters risks chancy. There are no guarantees when characters can go into peril, or even just go about their lives.

As the third book in a series, this isnít the best entry point. Birmingham does a nice job refreshing readersí knowledge of prior action, but this isnít the same as the knowledge gained by reading the earlier two books. Another issue for new readers is the number of points of view. In addition to the above mentioned characters there are several other flavor POVís. They are around just long enough to provide information that the main characters are not near.

Although the focus is mainly on the females, I enjoyed the Kipper scenes in Seattle. I enjoy world building stories as well as post-apocalyptic tales. This is definitely a little of both. The old world ends and a new one is born. Kipper needs to create a new America in spite of all the hate and distrust that remains in the USA and the rest of the world. He wants the new USA to be welcoming without giving up the old American Dream. To do this, he needs to overcome the powerful that want to retain their power and accumulate more.

I enjoyed this look at an alternate America. It was as good as his earlier Axis of Time series. Birmingham knows how to write action and I look forward to the next foray into parallel universes.

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