cover image Year One

Year One

Nora Roberts. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-12295-7

The entertaining latest from Roberts (Come Sundown), the first of a trilogy, concerns a magical blight that wipes out most of mankind and leaves some survivors with otherworldly powers. After what becomes known as the Doom is unwittingly unleashed by a hunter’s bullet, Uncannys—people with magical inclinations, such as the witch Max Fallon and his lover, Lana Bingham—experience a surge in their abilities. Others discover newfound capabilities, like Little Fred, who realizes that she’s a fairy. Then there are Uncannys like Max’s bitter younger brother, Eric, who’s long lived in Max’s shadow and whose resentment darkens his inclinations. The world quickly divides into factions of good and evil as those immune to the Doom try to find one another and start over in communities. After dodging marauding gangs and evil Uncannys who want to kill her, Lana learns that she holds the key to saving this new world. Roberts knows how to write a page-turner, though her prose often relies on repetitive exposition and her attempts at depicting diversity can be cringeworthy (“I’m a good driver. No Asian driver cracks, black boy”). Characters are pretty much stock good or evil, but readers who are after a well-told apocalyptic story with magical touches will be satisfied. [em]1,000,000-copy announced first printing. (Dec.) [/em]