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End of Days by E. Walters

Walters, Eric. End of Days. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2011. Print.

T minus 24 years: Professor Sheppard is kidnapped from his bed at gunpoint and delivered to a top-secret research institute in Switzerland where he meets equally eminent astrophysicist, astronomer, and mathematician colleagues who were supposedly dead.

T minus 17 years: Joshua Fitchett, world’s richest and most secretive man, calls a sudden press conference, announces that the earth will be destroyed in 17 years by a meteorite, and then “dies” the next day when his mansion compound burns to the ground.

T minus 1 year: Billy, teenage leader of a gang of children surviving in the pre-collision chaos, is arrested by police and delivered to a cavernous, underground compound populated by the world’s most promising children.

The connecting thread is a riveting exploration of how humans might respond if the earth were certain to be impacted by a massive meteorite in the not-so-distant future. Eric Walters has chosen four possibilities to explore in-depth.

Governments and the scientific community try to keep everything secret, gather the best scientists, and collaborate on an unprecedented scale to devise a technological way to destroy the meteorite before it hits. The world’s richest man believes that a) humans deserve to know of their imminent destruction and b) that the earth will be uninhabitable for an indeterminate time. He creates a modern-day Noah’s ark and gathers only the best prospects to repopulate the world. Reverend Honey believes this is God’s Judgment Day and that salvation depends on thwarting all efforts to avert the disaster. Humanity in general gradually descends into chaos as the impact draws nearer.

End of Days is a fantastic story that asks tough, but essential, questions including, “How would you act if we knew humanity’s doom to the exact minute but it was many years hence?” I hope there are more installments because the ending is just the beginning.

Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: David Sulz

David is a librarian at the University of Alberta working mostly with scholars in Economics, Religious Studies, and Social Work. His university studies included: Library Studies, History, Elementary Education, Japanese, and Economics. On the education front, he taught various grades and subjects for several years in schools as well as museums. His interest in Japan and things Japanese stands above his other diverse interests.