cover image Gary Jennings' The 2012 Codex

Gary Jennings' The 2012 Codex

Robert Gleason and Junius Podrug, Forge, $25.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2260-9

In Gleason and Podrug's undistinguished fourth entry in the Jennings franchise (after Apocalypse 2012), set mostly in 16th-century Mexico, Pakal the Storyteller saves the life of the king's architect by killing a rare white jaguar. This heroic act leads to Pakal's getting an assignment to track down the Dark Rift Codex, a document crucial to the survival of Mayan society. In the present, covert U.S. operatives search for the codex, believed to contain details about how the world will end in 2012. At tedious length, the American president receives lectures on the growing signs of ecological catastrophe. Overwrought prose doesn't help (e.g., "Reets... took out a fleeing bandit herself, Coop still doing the heavy work, the hard precision shooting, firing that weapon like she and the PDW were born together, conceived together in the same uterus, her eyes unblinking over its iron sights, empty and expressionless as the Martian moons, cold and compassionless as her violent moonshiner youth"). (Sept.)