Plague Journal: A NovelPlague Journal: A Novel
Michael D. O'Brien
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Plague Journal is Michael O'Brien's fourth novel in the Children of the Last Days series. The central character is Nathaniel Delaney, the editor of a small-town newspaper, who is about to face the greatest crisis of his life. As the novel begins, ominous events are taking place throughout North America, but little of it surfaces before the public eye. Set in the not-too-distant future, the story describes a nation that is quietly shifting from a democratic form of government to a form of totalitarianism. Delaney is one of the few voices left in the media who is willing to speak the whole truth about what is happening, and as a result the full force of the government is brought against him. Thus, seeking to protect his children and to salvage what remains of his life, he makes a choice that will alter the future of each member of his family and many other people. As the story progresses he keeps a journal of observations, recording the day-by-day escalation of events, and analyzing the motives of his political opponents with sometimes scathing frankness. More importantly, he begins to keep a "mental record" that develops into a painful process of self-examination. As his world falls apart, he is compelled to see in greater depth the significance of his own assumptions and compromises, his successes and failures. Plague Journal chronicles the struggle of a thoroughly modern man put to the ultimate spiritual and psychological test, a man who in losing himself finds himself.
     

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Plague Journal *****
reviewed 1/24/2005

This is pure espresso. A demitasse of concentrated charity, concentrated suspense, concentrated adventure. Follow the flight of a world weary editor of a small town newspaper that becomes a hunted man when his society finds itself under totalitarianism, a world that looks very much like Huxley's Brave New World, and also dangerously similar to our own. Therefore, this book not only captivates and thrills us with Nathaniel Delaney's counter-cultural courage, but also gets us to see the perils to which our own culture is headed. There are sections where hell itself seems invoked in the hardened hedonism, the intolerant totalitarianism that has come to imprison the world. But likewise, one is often reminded of heaven, the joyful triumph of the caritas that comes to be consummated so often within these pages. Such a wonderful wounding is this book. –william 256 pages from Ignatius Press.