I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Pinnacle on October 25th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Thriller
Buy on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, BAM, Book Depository, Publisher
“Washburn brings a new kind of terror. “ — Marc Cameron
FIRST THE GROUND SHAKES . . At Yellowstone National Park, earthquake tremors are common. But today, park scientist Tucker Mayfield detects something different: a disturbing new increase in activity—and intensity . . .
THEN THE LAVA RISES . . Lurking beneath the park’s natural wonders, earth’s largest supervolcano begins to awaken after 640,000 years. If—or when—it blows, two-thirds of the North American continent will be destroyed . . .
NOW THE WHOLE WORLD TREMBLES . . . IN FEAR. Racing against time, Tucker Mayfield mobilizes a team to evacuate all visitors from the park—including his family at the Old Faithful Inn. But when the earthquakes intensify, and the death toll rises, a shockwave of panic spreads across the nation. Troops are deployed, emergency plans activated. But nothing can stop a natural disaster of this magnitude. When the volcano erupts, doomsday begins—and no one gets out alive . . .
“Leaves you breathless.” — Marc Cameron, bestselling author of National Security and Day Zero
“Like a nuclear reactor, this story heats up fast!”—Anderson Harp, author of Retribution and Born of War
Yellowstone National Park is the home of beautiful landscapes, hot springs, idyllic camp grounds and one of the world’s “super volcanoes”. Scientists estimate it has been approximately 640,000 years since the last time the super volcano’s caldera erupted. Recently, the ground beneath Yellowstone has been steadily heating up and rising – classic signs of an impending eruption.
When researchers tasked with observing and recording changes in the Yellowstone volcano’s rate of elevation and rising underground temperature discover that the volcano appears to have magma rapidly rising to the surface, chief scientist Tucker Mayfield recommends the evacuation of Yellowstone National Park. Although Park Superintendent Ralph Barlow calls for the evacuation of the park as soon as possible, no one expects the caldera to erupt within hours.
All signs point to an upcoming eruption and the date of eruption could be in days or weeks. Our story follows chief scientist Tucker Mayfield and his band of survivors in their race to safety before disaster strikes.
Cataclysm is a novel is plenty of implausible escape scenes – including hiding underground from flowing lava which, if you understand the volcanic eruption of Pompeii, you would realize is completely impossible and everyone would have been instantly cooked. Regardless of obvious “flaws; if the reader is willing to suspend belief they will find Cataclysm a fun and compelling read. Washburn’s writing style is reminiscent of Clive Cussler’s writing style with plenty of action, impractical heroic moments and the typical “hero” trope in Mayfield.
Cataclysm is a fun, easy beach read with a steady stream of action that keep readers reading.
Finally, the newspaper snippets and interviews included in the novel was a fantastic addition. The eye witness interviews conducted in refugee camps were fantastic methods to fill in the gaps during and after the Yellowstone eruptions. Unlike The Three by Lotz, the interviews and clippings added a human element to the novel rather than an irritating serialization of events and also allowed for a break between chapters which was refreshing.
The biggest problem with this novel was by far the rushed ending. I found this more irritating that some of the outlandish action scenes. The author favored a large leap in time of a year (or two?) to briefly revisit the main characters and show how North America has fared once the eruption had run it’s course. Unfortunately, I felt like the author ran out of ideas or time and hastily threw together an ending just to finish the book. Still a good read, but the ending wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been.
I would recommend this novel to fans of disaster novels, people who enjoy an escapist read with action right out of the gate, novels without a great deal of pre-story and simplistic language. Reader beware: although there is some science contained in the novel (eg: what a caldera is, super volcano definitions and the basic mechanics of an eruption), there is a fair amount of suspect circumstances and situations that require some flexibility in belief.