|Dennis Danvers: End of Days|
Eos (Paperback), ISBN 0380790939
End of Days, set in an innovative, total apocalypse, depicts earth being run by surviving religious zealots. Danver's main characters want to die -- a problem for Donovan Carroll, because in the Bin, a huge electronic data bank into which most of humanity downloaded their consciousness, the only people who can die are suicides who really want to commit suicide. A self-styled teacher in the usefulness of death, Donovan attempts to learn how to help people die.
Along comes Walter Tillman, who existed before the creation of the Bin, and accidentally ended up isolated in a Bin environment of his own. In life Walter, a geneticist, perfected the art of cloning human bodies. Walter particularly wants to die since he feels the only true love in his life betrayed him in his last minutes on earth. Walter's true love, Bin resident Stephanie Sanders, also wants to die because she led Walter' killers to him. But the Bin won't let Stephanie commit suicide because she only wants to die as a punishment -- not because she really wants to die.
Outside the Bin, a hundred years later, we meet Soldier Sam (a follower of Gabriel, the insane leader of the religious fanatics ruling the earth) and Laura, a construct clone of, yep you got it, Stephanie Sanders. So when Sam, who nurtures doubts about Gabriel's brand of religion, finds Walter Tillman holed up as a few electronic sparks in a prototype Bin, Sam decides to throw it all in and rescue the aged geneticist by finding him a body in which to download. Sam runs into Laura, who happens to have a small supply of bodies on hand, and somehow the transfers take place whilst Gabriel decides to take out the Bin with a nuke or two.
End of Days constantly changes viewpoints, which makes it easy to lose track of the action in several places. The plot relies more on contrivance than innovation, attempting to cram two books worth of action into a single volume. This weakens the book's ending. Nevertheless, the quality of the writing is such that I will keep my ear open for word of other books by Danvers, but I won't break into a sweat if I miss one.
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