And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter. – Samuel 6:19
(Those Christians really know all about smiting, don’t they?)
It began as a dark, fast moving fog bank moving in from the south and pouring over the Galveston Island seawall. Relentlessly working its way across the world, by the time it dissipates a week later, over 90% of the world’s population is dead. Is it the wrath of god, wiping its disappointment from its eyes? The Mother, cleansing the plague of all-destroying humans from her skin? Maybe it is aliens, clearing the fields before a new crop can be planted, a crop which won’t rape and pillage the land and its creatures. Or maybe…
I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. – J. Robert Oppenheimer
Nah, that’s all right, Dr. Oppenheimer. You can rest quietly in your grave. Because you’ve got nothing on this shiny new toy. For you see, it is really quite odd, isn’t it, that only the politicians and military survived in the US. Well, and the medical personnel. Because you really do need a nurse sometimes.
“… while madness in individuals is relatively rare, it is virtually a prerequisite for a certain sort of political leader.” ― Joyce Carol Oates, The Accursed
There are of course shadows of Stephen King’s The Stand here (I own the ‘Complete and Uncut edition’). As well as The Demon in The Freezer and The Hot Zone. Richard Preston did a great job with those. But while King relies on a supernatural basis for his story, and Preston uses a light hand in his works, Nita DeBorde rips off the bandages, tears off the scabs, and runs full bore into the glaring, painful light of reality. Hitler, Pol Pot, and the American government that chose to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to conducting biological, chemical and radiological experiments on American citizens, is no more than dabbling a toe into the demonic waters of biological and chemical warfare compared to this small group of politicians and military personnel.
From Tuskegee to Project F, the Guatemalan Experiment,MKULTRA and Dr. Robert MacMahan’s 1969 request for funds for synthetic biological agent to which no natural immunity exists, to the 1995 confession by Dr. Garth Nicolson that biological weapons used during the Gulf War were not only manufactured in Houston and Boca Raton, but were tested on Texas Department of Corrections Prisoners (Ha! Take THAT Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan! You can’t do it, but WE CAN! Goooo America!!!) the American government has shown all the moral and ethical solidity of a three-year-old handed an Uzi and set amongst his fellow babes. But this time? The safety is off, the gun is locked and loaded, and the whole world goes down. And you know what?
They aren’t done yet.
I received Project Lachesis from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own, including the thought that I am going to be stalking Nita’s Nook, the author’s website, hoping to be there when she needs a beta reader for her next book. This woman is AMAZING!!!!
About the Author
Nita DeBorde is a published author and professional copyeditor and translator from Houston, TX. Nita taught high school French for fifteen years before leaving education in 2014 to focus on a freelance writing career.
Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger … for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created…. The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. – Christopher Hitchens
They’d lived in a country that was run by a butcher. That did not make them butchers. In fact, they were just the opposite. – Jan Coffey, The Janus Effect
The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost. – M. Scott Peck
In 1988, with the full might of the US Government and the force of the Regan White House behind him, Saddam Hussain facilitated what was known as “The Anfal Campaign.” Named for the eighth sura, or chapter, of the Qur’an, Saddam’s Anfal was a mammoth campaign of civic annihilation, displacement and mass killing. Saddam tapped his cousin, Ali Hassan al–Majid, a man well–known for his brutality, to take charge of northern Iraq. Al–Majid quickly deployed military resources to, in his words, “solve the Kurdish problem and slaughter the saboteurs.” He ordered Iraqi aircraft to drop poison gas on PUK and KDP targets and civilian villages, killing thousands indiscriminately. The Iraqi regime had become the first in history to attack its own civilian population with chemical weapons. Al–Majid came to be known as “Chemical Ali.”
There were eight Anfal attacks in all, each following a similar pattern. First, air attacks dropped chemical weapons on both civilian and peshmerga targets. Next, ground troops surrounded the villages, looting and setting fire to homes. Then townspeople were herded into army trucks and taken to holding facilities, the largest being Topzawa, an army camp near Kirkuk. At these camps, men and boys deemed old enough to carry a weapon were separated from women, the elderly and young children. Routinely and uniformly, these men and boys were taken to remote sites, executed in groups, and dumped into pre–dug mass graves. Many women and children were also executed, especially those from areas that supported the Kurdish resistance. – Dave Johns, The Crimes of Saddam Hussein, 1988: The Anfal Campaign
When the dust, chemicals, and biological weapons had settled, 90 percent of Kurdish villages had essentially been wiped off the map, and the countryside was strewn with mass graves, and with land mines to discourage resettlement. The response from the international community was muted, as many nations, including the United States, had supported Hussein with money and arms during the Iran–Iraq war.
“Half of writing history is hiding the truth.”― Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy
One of the worst of these attacks was against the city of Halabja, a peaceful, working class Kurdish city. Al-Majid ordered the destruction of the city with chemical and biological weapons, including mustard gas, nerve gasses such as sarin, VX and hydrogen cyanide, and a new, unidentified gas “that made people crazy (they tore off their clothes, laughed for a while and then dropped dead). Around 8000 died immediately. Overall, hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Kurdistan were slaughtered, without pity. And yet, what do we, the American People, know of the atrocities committed by our government in our insane quest for cheap oil?
Out of this wasteland of indiscriminate death and destruction begins The Janus Effect, one of the strongest novels I have ever read. Utilizing strong research, close ties with the people of Kurdistan, and a depth of personal compassion that is unmatched, Nikoo & Jim McGoldrick, writing as Jan Coffey, have written a novel that deserves to be on every person’s reading list. And yes, you really should read it, not just let it sit there and look pretty on the shelf. This is an amazing and horrifying story that will send chills up your back, and make you think, long and hard, about the meaning and reality of true evil.
In the middle of nowhere Maine, something has happened. Something horrific; unbelievable; and frightening beyond words. Two families have arrived on a small coastal island for a summer vacation. Within a matter of hours, they are all dead and rotting with unimaginable speed. Soon, those that find the bodies are also dead. Ten fatalities, within hours rotted beyond recognition. Only one aspect is possibly familiar. A strand of bacteria found in a bombed out lab in Iraq in 1988 shows many of the same constituents of this new, deadly killer. And to learn about that bacteria, what it is, and how it is developed, Austyn Newman is traveling to Afghanistan, to the infamous Brickyard Prison, there to question the one person who may have answers – the scientist who developed the bacteria in Sadaam’s laboratories. Traded between various “black” prisons for the past five years, Dr. Rahaf Banaz has been lost in a system of total isolation, a ghost, with no record, no rights, and having never been charged with, or convicted of, a crime. Questioned, tortured, and finally left to rot, Newman finds his quarry in a hole in the Brickyard, cramped into a cell so small she cannot even stand. Starved, shaved bald, and with only a filthy blanket, she is, indeed, a ghost of a human being. And she is, he believes upon meeting her, something else as well. She may not even be Dr. Banaz.
As the story unfolds, Newman and Dr. Banaz, Dr. Fahimah Banaz, Rahaf’s sister who has taken Rahaf’s place in prison in order to allow Rahaf to continue her medical relief work, travel from the Brickyard at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan through the ruins of cities and the beauty of the stark mountain landscape to the city of Kermanshah, Iran, in search of Rahaf, in search of answers. And during their travels, we learn too of the atrocities of sadistic politicians, both Eastern and Western, the horrors of the victims of war, and the lengths humans will go to in order to destroy one another for power, money and glory. And also? Also, the lengths that humans will go to in order to save and protect those they love. And even those they do not know.
This is a powerful story. Thriller, suspense, medical thriller, history, it’s all there, wrapped up in a story to break any thinking person’s heart. Lies and deception; truth and brutal honesty; and above all the agony of a people forgotten, written off by a culture that cares not for those who are crushed under the weight of a brutal, sadistic war machine. With heartbreaking twists at the end, this story written from the outlook of someone who loves the country and its people should be honored for both it’s excellence and heart.
“Lies and secrets, Tessa, they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.” ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
I received this book from StoryCartel.com in return for a realistic review. I highly recommend that you read it. I got a nice note from the authors, it was indeed a proof copy I received. It has been professionally edited.