This is the review for "The Rift" I posted on Amazon:
The paperback version of "The Rift" weighs in at 932 pages, and the earthquake doesn't begin until page 172. Even though I kept waiting for the earthquake and anticipating it for 171 pages, I enjoyed the character development in these pages and thought the buildup, while excessive, was worth my time. Nevertheless, I think Mr. Williams' editors should have insisted on cutting story lines.
[spoiler ahead] For example, Charlie's (the commodities trader) storyline went nowhere. I understand that Mr. Williams wanted to show us what happens to someone who just can't wrap his head around a disaster of this scale. It was instructive, perhaps, but did not advance the overall story and didn't connect in any way. Likewise, the St. Louis Arch story line could have been completely redacted. It was interesting in its own, but served only to bulk up the otherwise lengthy book and slow down the story. What happened to our likeable, heroic, and interesting park ranger? Where'd she go? Did she survive? We'll never know. Although the character of the President of the United States was well-written and interesting, he was also extraneous and served to slow down the action. [end spoilers]
Williams introduced each section with an account of the great New Madrid quake of 1911. About halfway through, I started skipping these accounts. They just bogged down the story and most of them weren't relevant or helpful.
Despite the book's shortcomings, the main "Nick/Jason" storyline is skilllfully paced, compelling and interesting. The pre-millennialist preacher and the kluxer sheriff story lines fold in nicely and create enormous suspense. General Frazetta is a delight. Williams' antagonists are multi-faceted - one can sympathize with most of them even though they are vile.
There are a couple of enormously surprising moments, which are well worth the prolix. I highly recommend this epic, despite its shortcomings.
At first, I thought I was reading the plot for another disaster movie. Too many characters, too many subplots. Then it all clicked. It became riveting and suspenseful. Although the book is very long (over 900 pages), once I got over the initial introduction of characters, I was hooked. A very good read.
\"It can happen, and sooner or later it will\", That\'s the scary part. This book is so real I could not put it down for two days. When I left the book at the last page, I left some good friends. I am now searching for more books by Walter J. Williams.
One of my favorite apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic books, along with The Stand, Swan Song, New Madrid Run, Plague Year, Mother of Storms, and Earth Abides. This is a fine read about different groups of people surviving and coping after major earthquakes hit the Mississippi River basin. It deals with the ideas that I like best in a PA novel: "What what you do to survive in the face of a breakdown in society?"
This book was great-the best I've read in a while. There was an excellent cast of characters and a well-developed plot(although a "personae dramatis" list would have helped). I highly recommend this book to everyone who is not intimidated by a long book-this one was 932 pp.
Fun apocalypse fiction--the New Madrid fault lets one rip and the entire US is plunged into chaos.
It starts with the dogs--they won't stop barking. And then the earth shrugs--8.9 on the Richter scale in the world's biggest earthquake since 1755. Within minutes, there is nothing but chaos and run as America's heartland falls into the nightmare known as the Rift--a fault line in the earth that wrenchingly exposes the fractures in American society itself. As a strange white mist smelling of sulfur rises from the crevassed ground, the real terror begins for the survivors.
Tedious, overlong development of characters without, for some odd reason, rendering any of them credible or worthy of sympathy. By the time I got to the earthquake itself, I was hoping they'd all be wiped out so I could finally close the book: but ALAS! there were still almost FIVE HUNDRED PAGES left to read!
I was surprised to realize that I was at page 178 before the actual event occurred! It is close to 1000 pages long but it was worth the investment of time. The story is fast-moving once you get the various characters and plot lines straight in your head. I would highly recommend to anyone who loves a good disaster story. Excellent tie-in at the end!
This is an ultra-long book, and it took me awhile to read, but the story is very good and entertaining as can be!
I could not keep up with all of the characters in this book...gave up after page 79.