Sherrida Woodley's Quick Fall of Light was published in 2010 by Gray Dog Press.
Here's a description of Quick Fall of Light:
Can A Shocking Resurrection From Extinction Save Mankind?
While the world succumbs to the horrors of a great flu epidemic, a woman vows to protect the perilous fate of a bird whose existence manipulates the destiny of man. In this suspenseful tale, part Michael Crichton, part Rachel Carson, a global virus sets the tone, but it's a one-pound bird that determines who lives... and who doesn't. Science collides head-on with the untamed in this powerful novel of redemption.
Click here to visit Sherrida Woodley's official website.
A REVIEW OF SHERRIDA WOODLEY'S QUICK FALL OF LIGHT
Quick Fall of Light is an emotional, touching and powerful story about Josephine Russo who has lost her husband. Her husband died in a plane accident in Olympic National Forest. Joserphine finds out that her husband has kept secrets from her and realizes what he has done. Quick Fall of Light is also a story about an extinct bird, which has been saved from extinction by careful and secret research methods. This rare bird may hold a key to humankind's survival.
Quick Fall of Light is equal parts science fiction, mystery, environmental thriller and character-driven storytelling. I like this combination, because the story flows intriguingly from start to finish. This book is a quick read and the story isn't long, but the characters bring it to life and give depth to the happenings. The story is a bit sad, but also hopeful - this is a great combination, because it gives the author a chance to write about the emotions of the characters.
Although Quick Fall of Light is an apocalyptical science fiction book (a mutated avian flu virus kills people all around the world), it manages to avoid the usual apocalyptical clichés, because the author uses her characters to move the story forward instead of writing all the time about what's happening to the world and how people react to the deaths. I think it's great that the author has concentrated on her main characters, because the characterization is simply superb.
Here's some information about the main characters and the plot:
- Josephine Russo is a woman who married an older man. Her husband, Robert Russo, worked for the university and was involved in a secret Wilson's Bridge project. He worked partly for Colzer-Bremen (a pharmaceutical company, which makes a vaccine called Pass-Flu) and did research with the extinct passenger pigeon.
- Josephine meets a man called Gary Sterns in the woods. Gary knows her husband and shows her something extraordinary and amazing in the woods.
- Gary has also lost a loved one and sometimes thinks about her.
- Josephine and Gary start a journey together and try to get to Nebraska to an old man's (Burt Hennings) house. This old man was mentioned in Josephine's husband's notes.
- Martin Pritchard works for the Colzer-Bremen and takes care of things for the company. His wife is Shanna and her daughter is Rachel. His daughter has Addison's disease.
- Josephine, Martin and Gary are totally believable and realistic characters.
That's all I'll write about the characters and the plot, because I don't want to reveal too much.
It was interesting to read about the passenger pigeon and things related to it (I've always been interested in nature, animals and plants, so it's nice to read books about these subjects). I especially enjoyed reading how this bird was linked to the survival of humankind - it was interesting to read how the bird was connected to Colzer-Bremen and their vaccine. It was also interesting how the author had managed to find a connection between the great flu of 1918, the extinction of the passenger pigeon and the avian flu virus.
This book offers quite a lot of information about birds and especially pigeons, which is interesting. If you want to know more passenger pigeon, you may want to read this article. This book also contains social criticism and observations about human life, but not too much.
This book has been compared to Michael Crichton's books, but I think that this comparison doesn't do justice to this book, because Michael Crichton never wrote as well and beautifully as Sherrida Woodley. Sherrida Woodley's exquisite writing separates her from other writers, because her descriptions of certain events and emotions are surprisingly lush (she also creates complex characters).
The comparison to Rachel Carson (the author of Silent Spring) is more justified, because the author writes about birds and environmental things. It was interesting to read how human survival was linked to the survival of an extinct bird and the preservation of our fragile biodiversity. This subject has often been handled in science fiction, but seldom in this kind of format, because the author has managed to bring something new to the genre by writing mainly about the characters. I've often avoided reading apocalyptical books, because the characters in these books are usually more or less bland, so reading about Josephine Russo, Gary Sterns and Martin Pritchard was wonderfully refreshing.
Quick Fall of Light is an exceptionally well written, touching, intelligent and thought-provoking book. I liked the author's descriptive writing style, because she wrote beautifully about Josephine's grief, life and marriage. I think that Quick Fall of Light will appeal to readers who are interested in environmental thrillers and books related to nature. It's possible that Quick Fall of Light will also appeal to readers who aren't familiar with science fiction books, because this book is easy to get into.
I hope that Sherrida Woodley writes more books, because I'd like to read more from her. I'm sure that all the other readers, who read this book, will want to read more from this talented author.