The end of the world this is not. People still exists, civilization still exists, but the world is a far different place and with much fewer people. For thousands of years man has survived war, famine, and decease, but whether or not they will survive Plague Year remains to be seen.

Plague Year (by Jeff Carlson) begins with the story of a group of survives who are barely surviving in the high mountains of the of northern California. We learn rather quickly that traveling below ten thousand feet is a near death sentence, and if you spend to long in the lower elevations, you are certain to die. This part of California, along with every other part of the Earth‘s surface is being ravaged by a man-made plague made from nanobots that destroys ever warm-blooded creature from the inside out. It’s only weakness is elevation. Above ten thousand feet this man-made plague is itself destroyed.

Only here and a few other remote locations is civilization holding on. In the high mountains of Colorado what is left of the government remains, along with six hundred thousand people who fled the lowlands once it was learned that the only chances of survival lay at the top of the highest mountains and peaks.

Possibly the only hope for long-term survival lies with a crew flying high above the Earth‘s atmosphere aboard the International Space Station (ISS). There Dr. Ruth Goldman has been working to discover a vaccine, but with here limited access to quality machines and specimens, her progress is slow. Her only hope, along with that of the entire planets, might lie in her daring attempt to rejoin what is left of Earth‘s population.

Once this reunion takes place she is shocked to learn that hostilities in Colorado, and towards the government in particular, are running high and many blame scientists and people like her for  what has happened, and they are out for blood.

Things for Ruth gets really heated, however, when she learns of the governments plan to create a cure that will cure only the individual and not the entire world. In this way the government can have the entire world for themselves and can pick and chose whom they want to be a part of it.

But first they must find a cure. This piece of the puzzle comes when the scientists who originally made the nano-virus is found living in the mountains of northern California.

The book wasn’t as good as I expected as it got off to a slow start, but things picked up nicely once the full scope of the story – the nanobots origins and the governments plan to use this misfortune to their benefit – gets told. And while I can’t say this it was the greatest story that I have ever read, I will say that nothing I have read so far will keep from finishing the series that is continued in  Plague War and Plague Zone.

Rating (Out of 5):