Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gray Apocalypse by James Murdoch

Gray Apocalypse is the debut novel of James Murdoch and is a science fiction thriller that left me on the edge of my seat. I don't normally read science fiction books, but I was intrigued by the apocalyptic aspect of this story.

The book begins with a diary entry by Dwight D. Eisenhower dated July 16, 1954, that describes the Breeder Grays and how they have been abducting people around the globe to study the human race. The United States government has been unable to prevent these abductions, with any military plane sent to wipe out the alien craft destroyed, so President Truman forges an agreement with the Breeder Grays. They can continue to study the human race in exchange for access to their advanced technology and the ability to monitor those who have been abducted.

They are similar to us only in that they are nearly as tall as we are and walk on two legs. It is impossible to know much more about them other than the fact that they possess the ability to communicate by telepathic means and have technical and scientific know-how that is beyond our ability to understand. They come and go in our airspace at will, and we are unable to stop them. (page 8)
After Eisenhower's diary entry, Gray Apocalypse fast forwards 58 years to 2012. Readers are introduced to Michael Kendon, an assassin trained by the Directorate to stop people from releasing any information about the Breeder Grays. He is a Russian orphan who was taken into custody by the Directorate as a young boy and raised under ground. When readers first meet Kendon, he is being held captive as a suspected resistance member. Kendon went undercover to weed out resistance members, but he'd long been sympathizing with them. He joined forces with scientist Donald Meller, whom he is forced to kill in the first chapter to prevent crucial information from being given to the Directorate. You see, Meller was aware of an asteroid headed toward Earth, and he developed a weapon to prevent the destruction of the human race.

This is no ordinary asteroid. It is being guided toward Earth by the Breeder Gray ships, and Kendon has just three days to locate Meller's daughter, Laura, to find the one-one-five pod powered by ununpentium (apparently containing more energy than a nuclear bomb, though it's not radioactive) and then find the weapon into which the pod must be inserted to trigger a beam to knock the asteroid off course. When the asteroid hits Earth, only those humans brought underground by the Directorate will survive, and the Breeder Grays and the clones they created with the "help" of the humans abducted over the years will take over the planet.

Kendon escapes death at the hands of the Directorate and is on the run. His miraculous ability to heal with his hands helps him win over Laura and get her to believe his story that the world will come to an end in three days without her help. The task ahead is complicated by the fact that the aliens can read their minds, the Directorate is hot on their tails, the public doesn't know about the asteroid, and they have no idea where they are going.

Running parallel to Kendon's race to find the weapon is the story of Eric Tepler, resident astronomer at the Cabo Rojo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and high school teacher Gabriele Estrada. Eric discovers the asteroid, and the Directorate wants him dead because of this knowledge. Why the Directorate doesn't want to stop the destruction of the Earth and the subsequent alien takeover and how Eric and Gabriela are connected to Kendon and Laura...well, you must find that out on your own. But I will tell you that this entire summary takes place in the first few chapters of the book, so there is a lot going on in this story.

To give you an idea of how nasty the Breeder Grays are, read Kendon's description of them:

There are two kinds. One is just like the popular description of them. They're small and childlike, with gray skin. They have large heads relative to their bodies and enormous eyes. They have three-lobed brains and they smell bad, like ammonia. The others are about as tall as humans with grayish-blue skin and more angular facial features than the little ones. They're the ones in charge. Mentally, they are extremely powerful and can exert control with their minds. (pages 59-60)
I hope those of you who don't usually read science fiction are still with me. I'm not a science fiction fan, and I really enjoyed Gray Apocalypse. It's more of a thriller than sci-fi, with easy-to-understand scientific explanations (a big plus for me) and a lot of nail-biting action. There's even some romance. I thought all of the main characters were fairly well developed given that you only see them over a three-day span, and I could relate to each of them in some way. The whole "we must succeed or we all die" aspect of the story provided the necessary tension, and the fast pacing reminded me of a James Patterson novel. It's an engaging story of a fight to save the human race. I'm glad I gave it a try.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Gray Apocalypse from Demand Publications for review purposes.

15 comments:

Staci said...

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan either, but you may have changed my mind!!

Missy said...

I don't read much sci-fi, but I do enjoy apocalyptic novels. I might give this one a try...it sounds exciting!

bermudaonion said...

I don't read sci-fi, but my son loves it. I bet he'd like this one.

Heidi V said...

I like Sci-Fi and I really want to read this book now thanks for the review...

Megan said...

I delve into sci-fi once in a great while. This sounds like a good one. Thanks for the great review!

Serena said...

this sounds like an interesting read...I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I just love the typical outlines for the aliens on the cover.

ar poe said...

This sounds really fascinating. I'm not usually a big sci-fi fan either.

Thanks for sharing, I'll go check it out.

Lenore said...

An apocalyptic thriller sounds good to me.

Nicola said...

I love apocolyptic books and this sounds very interesting! Thanks for the review.

carolsnotebook said...

Sounds interesting. I do read sci-fi occasionally, especially ones that aren't too heavy on the "science" part.

Marie said...

it's not something I normally read but it sounds like fun. The title strikes me as a little funny, Gray Apocalypse. tee-hee.

naida said...

oh my gosh, this sounds great. that cover is very creepy!
great review! I need to read this one.
I've been to the Observatory in Puerto Rico, I wonder if it was called 'Cabo Rojo' or if that's just made up for the book.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Violet said...

I don't normally read science fiction books too because I don't really know where to start. This one sounds really good, I like the concept.

Book Escape said...

I don't read much in this genre either, but this one sounds exciting. There are a lot of apocalypse stuff about 2012 recently. Are they trying to tell us something?

Anna said...

Thanks everyone! I hope you all give the book a try, and if you do, please let me know your thoughts.