Portent (Tp): Portent (Tp)

James Herbert, Author Eos $14 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-105211-8
Fast on the trail of Twister is this drawn-out apocalyptic novel replete with meteorological mayhem. Shimmering lights precede a slew of natural disasters and plunge British climatologist James Rivers into a cliched battle between good and evil. A contrived twist of events brings Rivers to Hazelrod, a deteriorated Georgian estate nestled in the English countryside. There, Rivers meets adopted Romanian twin children who possess not only phenomenal healing powers but also answers to why the planet is destroying itself. Herbert spreads his story to the remotest corners of the earth, bringing in characters of many countries (and dialects--which can make for tough reading) whose sole purpose is to observe the shimmering phenomena mentioned above and then die in some disaster or another. The only significant characters beyond Rivers and his Hazelrod companions are a Scottish Highlands hermit and the grotesque high priestess of a New Orleans earth cult. Fortunately, both characters also hold evidence crucial to the novel's outcome. Still, Herbert (The Ghosts of Sleath), has a brilliant descriptive sensibility and uses it to create unforgettable disaster scenes. His obvious knowledge of meteorology also lends credence to an otherwise far-fetched premise. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1996
Release date: 06/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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