4 out of 4 stars
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The End of the Beginning is an exciting, crisp science fiction book by Zachary Eichholz. Within its 517 pages, mankind tries to find a way to reverse the damage done to our planet. Is it too little, too late?
William Emerson, a retired pararescuer, has led a life of isolation for six long years. After the Korean War, he was hailed as a war hero and nicknamed the "Hope Giver." After all that he has lost though, he feels like an utter failure. During those six years, he has had no peace, tormented by the deaths he was unable to prevent. Just as he decides to end it all, two UNIRO agents drive up to his isolated cabin. They offer him the opportunity to join UNIRO, an organization created to combat the world's environmental problems. With nothing to lose, William takes up the offer. It is a second chance, a chance to make a real difference. He realises he must overcome his troubled past and become the leader that everyone sees him as. Meanwhile, trouble brews in the form of Terra Nova, an environmental terrorist group. William must help to stop this evil force from destroying Earth's last hope, UNIRO.
William Emerson has to be on the list of my favourite protagonists thus far. When he starts out at UNIRO, he is in such bad shape that he has to go for counselling. It is soon discovered that he has PTSD. As a result of this vulnerability, William's future is uncertain. There were times when I feared for him. This uncertainty kept me hooked.
One of the strongest elements present in the book is that of suspense. William is shaped by the traumatic loss of his loved ones during childhood. The author reveals the events surrounding this loss gradually, in snippets. Unlike the rest of the book, which has a third-person narrator, these flashbacks are written from William's perspective. The intense fear and helplessness in those dire moments was overwhelming!
This suspense is also present as William slowly, yet persistently, uncovers the mystery surrounding the violent Terra Nova. Terra Nova is a force to be reckoned with. This group opposes the current system and its leaders. They believe that you must tear down before you can rebuild. I must admit, their arguments were well substantiated! Surprisingly, I found myself swayed by some of their reasoning, leaving me to question which organization was truly the way forward.
The ending of the book left me with unanswered questions. I really hope the author is working on a sequel. Despite its cliffhanger ending, I still believe it deserves to be rated 4 out of 4 stars. Science fiction lovers are sure to enjoy this book!
The End of the Beginning
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