Days of Atonement

Walter Jon Williams, Author
Walter Jon Williams, Author Tor Books $19.95 (437p) ISBN 978-0-312-85118-7
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 448 pages - 978-0-8125-0180-3
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Williams's ( Angel Station ) flawed futuristic thriller is set at the beginning of the next century, during the ``days of atonement'' observed by the Church of the Apostles, a period of contemplation, each day devoted to one of the seven deadly sins. Loren Hawn, police chief of Atocha, N.M., is driven by overwhelming rage, religious fervor and the desire to ``guard his marriage, his daughters, his community''; he styles himself ``the sword and arm of the Lord.'' Then an experiment at the nearby Advanced Technology Laboratories leaves a body on Loren's doorstep--apparently that of a man who died 20 years ago. As Loren investigates the ``John Doe''--is his appearance some sort of miracle?--he gradually comes to believe that he has been betrayed by all he cherished--his family, his town, his church. Ironically, he is right--ATL is involved in a crime--but Loren is over the edge. He is ultimately overtaken by rage and driven to a frenzy of murder and destruction. Although not completely successful in his portrayal of Loren's disintegrating personality, Williams does present a credible exploration of a near-future community. (Mar.)
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