An epic, apocalyptic tale of good and evil from Nora Roberts

Nora Robert’s latest novel Year One is a mix of magic and horror.

Ross MacLeod and his family are celebrating the festive season on their country farm. Ross inadvertently sets off a chain of events which sees him dying within a few days and, at the same time, infecting everyone he comes in contact with. Catching a flight across the Atlantic, he spreads this mysterious sickness throughout the airport and aircraft and so commences a pandemic unlike anything we have seen which rapidly moves throughout the world.

Scientists rush to invent a vaccine but without success and the virus kills everyone who contracts it – except a chosen few who seem to be immune. Those who are immune appear to develop strange and unexpected abilities and are called the “uncannies”. Unfortunately, some of these uncannies use their powers for evil and so begins a battle to survive for the innocent uncannies.

This terrible affliction is named the Doom.We are introduced to several groups anxious to escape the big cities where chaos reigns and the whole fabric of society begins to fall apart.

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Lana, a New York chef, has the power to move things and people with her will. Max, her partner also shares her abilities and Fred can summon light in the darkness. Desperate to leave New York behind, Lana and Max flee in the night, acquiring a vehicle which takes them some of the way into the remote country. Along the way they collect others of their kind, as they endeavour to find a safe haven from the horror.

In the meantime, the authorities begin searching for and rounding up the uncannies so as to begin experiments into their special abilities. Anxious to avoid being locked up and experimented on is another reason for these people to flee deep into outlying country.

After many weeks of travelling Lana and Max together with a now large group of like-minded souls happens upon a town called New Hope, inhabited by a group very similar to their own. Delighted to be able to put down roots and settle into a community which accepts their abilities as an asset, they begin to plan out a strategy to survive long-term. Lana also discovers to her delight that she and Max are expecting a baby and this gives them an added incentive to make New Hope their home. However, the best laid plans etc., cannot prevent them being hunted by the dark forces and their peaceful existence begins to unravel.

I found this novel to be an easy read which highlights how easily a deadly virus could be spread. A good read for young adults or anyone who enjoys a doomsday story. I have a feeling there will be a sequel; perhaps Year 2?

Year One, by Nora Roberts, is available in hardback, paperback and digital editions from the publisher, Hachette Australia, click here for details