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The New Madrid Seismic Zone is 140 miles, stretching across five states. In 1811 and 1812 enormous earthquakes erupted along this zone, effecting 24 states, creating lakes in Tennessee and causing the Mississippi River to run backward. In Peter Hernon’s 8.4 the New Madrid awakens, threatening the country with systematic collapse in a chillingly plausible case of history repeating itself. It’s up to a team of scientists to stop the impending destruction, working against nature, time and a horrifying, human-made conspiracy.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 01, 1999 – A cataclysmic moment in American history is about to repeat itself in this white-knuckle disaster thriller. Signs point to a contemporary recurrence of the devastating earthquakes that, in 1811 and 1812, ripped through the New Madrid Fault Zone, 140 miles of American heartland along the Mississippi River. Marina owner Lauren Mitchell discovers huge cracks in the Kentucky Lake Dam. Seismologist John Atkins, haunted by the tragic loss of his lover during the 1985 Mexico quake, witnesses abnormal animal activity on a visit to the University of Memphis. When beautiful West Coast seismologist Elizabeth Halloran supplies evidence that upcoming sunspots will trigger the New Madrid Fault, Atkins is still a little skeptical--until the first quake hits at Richter 8.4. After that, amid the chaos that engulfs the ruins of Memphis, the race is on to prevent the next quake in the sequence--if there is a sequence--with a daring and dangerous plan. No tale about science's dash to save civilization from nature would be complete without a contingent of pigheaded and skeptical bureaucrats foiling the protagonists' heroics; in this case a sycophantic group of earthquake experts naysay the probability of another big shake-up. Hernon (Earthly Remains) heightens the scuffle with a believable turf conflict between state authorities and the federal government. The scenes of devastation are both horrifying and awe-inspiring, and although at times Atkins is surprisingly naive about the impending quakes' telltale signs (hibernating frogs evacuating their winter habitats, for example), the characters are, for the most part, believable. The end result is a combination of science and thrills that compares favorably with the best of Michael Crichton, but with a decidedly warmer touch. Hernon's saga, with its meticulous seismic details and galvanizing descriptive immediacy, brings a human angle to the technology of natural disaster.

Customer Reviews

Better than you think

This has been one of my favorite books for a long time now and I was thrilled to see it finally in iBook form. It was loosely adapted and turned into a movie mini-series for television, which they unfortunately set on the west coast instead of keeping the core theme of the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The history and warnings concerning the NMSZ are integral to the messages of this loose fiction and should have been kept intact with a movie. The differences in earthquake types in this region are part of what Hernon is trying to get across. A major quake in this area stands to be a lot more devastating than anything in California. Anyway, I always find this to be a great read, even if some think Hernon's writing is a little slow. Give it a's worth it.

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  • $6.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Published: Aug 20, 2012
  • Publisher: Garrett County Press
  • Seller: National Book Network
  • Print Length: 460 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings