The Effort

The Effort

by Claire Holroyde


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For readers of Station Eleven and Good Morning, Midnight comes an electric, heart-pounding novel of love and sacrifice that follows people around the world as they unite to prevent a global catastrophe.

When dark comet UD3 was spotted near Jupiter's orbit, its existence was largely ignored. But to individuals who knew better — scientists like Benjamin Schwartz, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies — the threat this eight-kilometer comet posed to the survival of the human race was unthinkable. The 150-million-year reign of the dinosaurs ended when an asteroid impact generated more than a billiontimes the energy of an atomic bomb.

What would happen to Earth's seven billion inhabitants if a similar event were allowed to occur?

Ben and his indomitable girlfriend Amy Kowalski fly to South America to assemble an international counteraction team, whose notable recruits include Love Mwangi, a UN interpreter and nomad scholar, and Zhen Liu, an extraordinary engineer from China's national space agency. At the same time, on board a polar icebreaker life continues under the looming shadow of comet UD3. Jack Campbell, a photographer for National Geographic, works to capture the beauty of the Arctic before it is gone forever. Gustavo Wayãpi, a Nobel Laureate poet from Brazil, struggles to accept the recent murder of his beloved twin brother. And Maya Gutiérrez, an impassioned marine biologist is — quite unexpectedly — falling in love for the first time.

Together, these men and women must fight to survive in an unknown future with no rules and nothing to be taken for granted. They have two choices: neutralize the greatest threat the world has ever seen (preferably before mass hysteria hits or world leaders declare World War III) or come to terms with the annihilation of humanity itself.

Their mission is codenamed The Effort.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Page-turner of the year! In the grand tradition of Stephen King's The Stand, Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, and J.T. McIntosh's One in Three Hundred, this book is the story of a massive comet that threatens to end human existence and those who fight to prevent that catastrophe. Call it a techno-thriller, call it apocalyptic fiction — I call it great writing. This is an important and provocative novel, one that should be read by all who care about the future of the planet and humanity's role in its preservation. Claire Holroyde is an exciting new voice in modern fiction, and we're lucky to have this stirring and fully imagined book."—David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Author of Winter Counts

"Claire Holroyde's The Effort artfully mirrors an allegorical warning on the state of our planet's climate with a more imminent threat of complete and total annihilation of the human species. It speeds up the doomsday clock — that's ticking relentlessly on every page — but with a lingering and aching glimpse at everything that's about to be lost. Heart-pounding and heart wrenching all at once, it's ultimately, somehow, a story of immense hope. Just a stunning debut."—Jane Gilmartin, Author of The Mirror Man

"[Claire Holroyde's] prose is measured and clear, and the plot arcs nicely from the scientific issues to more personal stakes. An adept contribution to the realm of apocalypse fiction."—Kirkus Reviews

"Twisty . . . Holroyde displays a keen vision of societal and diplomatic breakdown amid imminent disaster. The deeper themes about human nature make this apocalyptic thriller more than escapist reading."—Publishers Weekly

"A solid debut novel from Claire Holroyde, reminiscent of the movies Deep Impact and Armageddon . . . You won’t want to put the book down."—Red Carpet Crash

"The Effort, in the tradition of science fiction novels past, manages to sweep aside national, sectarian, and governmental boundaries to . . . offer a glimmer of hope. It serves as a small, miraculous contrast to a world which, for the most part, simply folds its wings like [an] eagle and sinks when threatened with space debris, or with its own consumption patterns . . . Do we die with a bang, with a whimper, or both? Or do we find some way to live? The Effort suggests maybe all three at once."—Observer

"The Effort offers a vision for how humanity could avoid an existential crisis with international collaboration, while also highlighting the environmental threats created by humans."—Electric Literature

Kirkus Reviews

A comet called UD3 threatens to wipe out the human race, and a ragtag team of scientists from all over the world rushes to find a way to knock it off course in Holroyde’s debut.

Dr. Ben Schwartz of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is woken in the middle of the night by a call from a famous astrophysicist. Ben is told that the U.N. has a car waiting for him outside and that he must fly to French Guiana. He isn’t told why, only that he must pack a bag and leave, now. His girlfriend, Amy, refuses to be left behind, and when the two of them get off the plane, they learn that a “dark comet” has been discovered coming around the sun and is heading straight toward Earth. Ben joins a group of scientists, including China’s brilliant Dr. Zhen Liu, who are working to cobble together something to throw the comet off its course before it can smack into Earth and cause an extinction event. As news of the comet gets out and people panic, society begins to break down, as seen through chapters focusing on a ship sailing through the Arctic Ocean and a woman struggling to survive in a decaying New York City, among others. As time goes on it becomes clear that even if the scientists manage to find a solution, humanity might destroy itself anyway. Fans of similar apocalypse stories will recognize all the beats Holroyde hits here—unlikely romance, friendships forged in trauma, etc.—but what this book lacks in originality it makes up for in proficient execution. The many character relationships would feel more organic with a bit more breathing room, but the prose is measured and clear, and the plot arcs nicely from the scientific issues to more personal stakes.

An adept contribution to the realm of apocalypse fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538717615
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/12/2021
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 10,115
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

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