cover image Wrath of God

Wrath of God

Robert Gleason / Author HarperPrism $14.99 (397p) ISBN 978-0-0

No doubt there is an audience for this sweeping, genre-busting epic in which a post-apocalyptic United States is threatened by a bloody horde out of the East, led by a madman who seems to be the reincarnation of the 14th-century Mongol conqueror, Tamerlane. And just as surely there are readers who will find it utter, overwrought claptrap. Both may agree, however, that the book is sui generis, blending horror, Native American mysticism, history, warfare, time travel and legend into a saga of startling scope. Here the last best hope of civilization lies with an indomitable old woman, three heroes yanked out of history (Stonewall Jackson, George S. Patton and Amelia Earhart) and, ultimately, an extinct creature and an eagle who has forgotten how to fly. Ancient Katherine Magruder tries desperately to convince the skeptical citizens of New Arizona of the truth of horrifying dispatches she has received from her grandson who is traveling with Tamerlane's army under the protection of the conqueror's equally evil consort, the Lady Legion. Her son, a former Los Alamos scientist now dwelling among the Apache, discovers how to open a hole in time, enabling them to call the heroic trio to their aid just as the invading forces approach the nation's final citadel. In the end, the time travelers are more a plot conceit than a narrative necessity, and the anticipated final confrontations are allowed to peter out into anticlimax, seriously undermining this wild tale. (Dec.)