Mother Nature takes center stage, with a bit of help from mankind’s baser instincts, in 5 Days to Landfall, a thrilling novel by Robert Roy Britt. With all of the recent surges in extreme weather around the world, a story like this is not only timely, but should also act as a dire warning for weather experts and governments of the planet. Obviously, disaster movies and television shows fill popular media, but this book hits a bit too close to home to ignore. It’s a tense thrill-ride from start to finish.
Amanda Cole – the single-most qualified person to advise the nation on the dangers it faces from extreme weather – finds herself in the path of a massive, NYC-shaking hurricane. All of the theories and expertise in the world do her no good when she is standing in front of Nature’s unleashed fury. However, battling the elements isn’t the only danger facing this weather expert heroine, who almost strikes an Indiana Jones-chord at certain moments. She is off to chase down a storm within the first few pages of the novel, and the plot unfolds itself very quickly.
Britt does a great job of painting a quick and effective portrait of Amanda in broad brushstrokes, and then filling in the details of this character as the story progresses – including her failings and insecurities. The other side of this book, which makes the tale even more complex, is also introduced early: the mysterious octopus, looking to “take a shot at New York” is a sinister side plot problem for Amanda. She quickly finds herself in the Carolinas, back in the presence of the rugged Jack Corbin, where old feelings soon heat back up.
The multiple elements of this book that make it great all seamlessly intertwine – Amanda’s family, her fantasies, her passions…all of them are painted beautifully by Britt. However, the writing is also bolstered by real expertise. It is clear that the author has a lifetime of experience and knowledge about extreme weather, civil engineering and the real threats that face our society in the coming years. It takes a great writer to blend excellent fiction with realistic issues, all without seeming preachy or overly academic. On the contrary, there are chaotic moments in this novel that are too good to look away from. To make Amanda the protagonist, expert and action hero all rolled into one makes this a rollicking good story, penned by an author with a great deal of talent.
The technical aspects of the book are excellent, with few grammatical errors and engagingly diverse sentence structure. 5 Days to Landfall is tied together with smarter writing than many other disaster genre books, and the attention to detail in the interpersonal relationships between characters makes the story shine. Robert Roy Britt combines personal experience and passion with a great mind for fiction. Commenting on society in entertaining and wise ways is something that we need now more than ever, and the strength of Britt’s writing makes him qualified to do it.