Blackout by Marc Elsberg
eBook review copy; 320 pages
Blackout by Marc Elsberg is a recommended novel about the
power grid going out across Europe. This was originally published in
Germany in 2012.
When the power grid starts to go down, station by station, Piero
Manzano, a former hacker and activist, figures out what may have caused
the collapse. As Manzano battles the authorities to get them to listen
to him, Lauren Shannon, an American CNN
camera operator/reporter follows the story. As suspicions fly and
answers are not evident, the grid in the USA goes down, and the disaster
is becoming worldwide. While trying to help Manzano becomes the prime
suspect and ends up having to run from authorities as he still tries to
find the answers.
This is not a techno-thriller as much as it is a semi-realistic scenario
of what would happen if the power grids failed due to the actions of a
terrorist group. In this scenario the terrorists are well educated, well
connected and wealthy, which wouldn't necessarily always be the case.
The important fact to take away from Blackout is that we, all
countries, need to safe guard our power plants. After all, it's not just
electricity at stake. No power would affect so much more, like the food
supply, healthcare, communication, and the water supply. The concern
over what could happen is real and Blackout does a service pointing attention to this.
While the concept of the book is chilling and could be more frightening
than many nightmares in the hands of some writers, in this instance the
execution of the novel doesn't quite live up to the description. Elsberg
did his research, which is evident, and that definitely helps the novel
and gives it an edge, but the actual presentation of the action is not
quite as realistic and the plot suffers. Manzano just keeps getting out
of one desperate situation after another. While it is an interesting
book and did hold my attention I couldn't help but think that perhaps a
nonfiction novel would have been a better choice to present all the
My review copy was courtesy of Sourcebooks.