At 3:42 pm EST on an average day, a blinding flash of light beams down from the heavens and shuts down the modern world in seconds. People in the northern hemisphere are sunburned and soon fall sick; people in the southern are blinded and killed immediately if they’re outside, while those inside are condemned to a slower, painful death. A gamma ray burst has struck Earth, the ozone layer has been decimated, and death is quick on its heels.
This first volume of six captures the stories of a variety of characters around the world – some survive, but many do not – forming the basis for the series. Some characters only appear as they’re dying, while others, primarily in the middle and western United States, suffer but avoid fatal radiation poisoning, having been somehow sheltered when the beam hit. The Northern Lights, long a feature of the frozen north, begin dancing over mid-America, a sinister demonstration of the havoc wreaked on the protective layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The notion of a gamma ray burst is far more realistic than some of the apocalyptic notions parading through pages – electromagnetic pulses, or EMPs, seem to be the current craze, although zombies are never far behind. Flashpoint is a good beginning to a series that takes readers into largely unimagined territory with characters that grab their interest and heart.