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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Alliance

I first read this book a long time ago. I think it was like 8th grade. Before that, I think it was 6th grade... my teacher (Miss Adams, if I remember the grade correctly) read us the book a bit at a time. I loved it then, but had been unable to find it since 6th grade.

I finally came across it recently, and had to give it another read. And sure enough, I still loved it. Gerald Lund has a winner here.

Set some time in the future, 18 years after a nuclear war has wiped out most of the people, the story takes of quickly. There are a group of villagers that survived and are living life while constantly having an eye out for others that survived. One day, they happen to notice a couple of trucks... and then one of the 2 guys there gets tased (assumed shot at the time though). Our main character, Eric, leaves after a gunfight, and runs back to the village. A group of men set up to protect the town, and we learn that one of the new guys at the village is actually with the attackers and knocks Eric out before running to help his guys out.

Eric wakes up eventually and at that point everyone at the village that survived the fighting (his father isn't one of them) is at Shalev, one of the cities that has been set up by a group of survivors. The city is almost like a version of "Utopia"... there is no "bad" stuff going on. The reason is that everyone has been implanted with a system that shocks them whenever they get agitated, even just a bit. Everyone from the village is implanted, excluding Eric... who they hope to convince to join the Guardsmen.

Eric, though, isn't impressed. He has a couple instances of major anger, and ends up getting implanted as well... at least until they (Nicole, who's watching over him most of the time; the Major, who leads it all; Travis, the betrayer from the village) think he's better. Eric meanwhile schemes with another villager (Cliff) on escaping... which involves removing the implantation (in the neck) & the wristwatch at the exact same time (to prevent a fatal shock).

Somehow he overcomes the shock enough to steal some bolt cutters from a museum, while fooling the 3 overseers into thinking that he was trying to steal the rifle & failed. And then it's on. Cliff frees him & he frees Cliff... fighting of death to do it. And then they're on the run. Having had enough of the Utopia, they're freeing whoever wants to be freed from the implantation, frustrating the Major more and more with each freed person.

And it's all leading to a final showdown between those that are freed and those that are there to defend the Alliance Of Four Cities, with Eric, Cliff, Travis, the Major & Nicole all being forced into action.

I've never had much luck with sci-fi books (2 or 3 exceptions, of course), but I have no problem with this one. It's quick, it gets to the point and stays there... and it doesn't overwhelm you with a bunch of awkward terminology. Always good. And the relationship (read: sarcasm!) between Eric & Nicole throughout the book is fun. Can't go wrong with that.

It's a nice read at the least, and a kinda frightening look at what might be in the future.