Two elderly sisters, Emily and Laura, are jolted awake by a piercing tsunami alert warning. They and many of their Oregon coastal neighbors trudge out of their comfortable homes in the middle of a cold, dark March night and drive to a designated assembly area. A large earthquake has occurred 2,000 miles away in the Aleutian Islands.
Emily, a retired geologist, knows the destruction a tsunami could wreak. She knows enough to come prepared with emergency supplies for what could be an extended stay away from home. The assembly area begins to fill, causing tempers to flair. The sisters and a few others decide to drive further up the mountains.
In Cascadia’s Curse, a novel, J. A. Charnov brings awareness to those who live along the Cascadia Fault, or more technically the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), that runs from northern Vancouver Island, B.C. to Cape Mendocino, California. What many would like to avoid thinking about is brought to life.
Cascadia’s Curse follows the small group that leave the main assembly and also those left behind. When the tsunami hits and then is followed by a massive earthquake, it is far worse than ever imagined. Nature continues her destruction, rearranging Oregon’s coastline. Charnov’s description of these disasters and the affect it has on its victims is vivid and realistic.
Before I retired after twenty years as a volunteer with the American Red Cross, I responded to many national disasters–tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, massive fires, earthquakes and 9/11. The disaster situations described in this book resonated with me. In any disaster scene, natural leaders emerge, as do those who resent them. There will be people who are prepared, who have given thought to survival in disaster. There will be people who have put off preparing for disaster and those who have scoffed at preparedness, who will then have to rely on others. There will be injuries; deaths; violence–caused by both nature and by man. In disasters of this magnitude, the grim fact is that you cannot count on the help of local authorities. They, too, have been overwhelmed and are concerned with their own families. Emergency vehicles are a tangled mess, roads are destroyed, power cut off, sewage lines have burst, clean water contaminated. Charnov has presented both the geological side of such a disaster as well as the human reaction to catastrophe in this realistic thriller.
I highly recommend Cascadia’s Curse. It is a gripping read and keenly describes what many feel is a pending disaster.
For more information about disaster preparedness, visit http://www.ready.gov/