Renowned geologist Rob Elwood has a recurring nightmare in which his Washington state beach town is leveled by a devastating earthquake, then drowned by a towering tsunami. The dream has been a part of his life since he lost friends and colleagues in the 2004 Indonesian quake and tsunami, but in the last few weeks it’s become a nightly terror. The dreamscape indicates the disaster will happen during a festive national holiday, just as the July Fourth weekend nears. And precisely who is Cassie, the mysterious woman who shows up as Rob grapples with his choices and introduces herself as a strategic communications specialist from Troy?
A thoughtful man who includes the retired Episcopalian priest Lewis Warren among his friends, Rob consults Lewis about his unshakable belief that the life-threatening event will arrive soon. Lewis suggests he go public, and between a town meeting and a local TV interview, the entire world is soon familiar with Rob’s warnings of doom. Local government officials are infuriated, fellow geologists denounce him, and his usually supportive wife heads home to Oregon to escape the embarrassment. And as Independence Day, Saturday, fades into darkness, even Rob doubts his prediction, fearing he’s tossed away his career and reputation on the basis of a night terror.
Then Sunday morning dawns.
Bernard’s novel features a cast of characters in need of luck, forgiveness, love, and redemption, and the earthquake and oncoming tsunami grants those flawed souls the opportunity to repay their debts. A retired Air Force playboy prepares to die in the wreckage of a house with the girlfriend he abandoned twenty years earlier, while a homeless Vietnam vet who just located the mythic Spanish treasure he’s been seeking for years reluctantly abandons it to save an elderly couple and his beloved dog. While those in charge flee in terror, these men rise to meet the challenges placed before them, finding the strength within themselves to make necessary sacrifices.
As Rob finds himself suddenly reversed from pariah to prophet, he encounters Cassie as the tsunami approaches and realizes how she acquired her expertise. In those moments, he finally understands that even those carrying bad news have a calling to fulfill, and he has faithfully executed his duties.