I just received my copy in the mail. It’s the second novel from Napa Valley author David Ainsworth. In Extremis is a powerful and frightening look at the world we may be inhabiting in twenty years if we continue to exhaust our limited resources of fossil fuels. A love story set in the era of “peak oil,” Vincent and Grace rekindle their failed marriage as the oil dependent U.S. begins to fail through its lack of foresight and planning and its policies of consumerism, greed and oil imperialism.
Vincent is a Marine attaché at the Beijing Embassy and his ex-wife, Grace, is launching her journalism career when the rolling blackouts and transit delays begin. They are reunited through Grace’s connection to a controversial senator and his jet when the western U.S. electrical grid is shut down by a cyber attack from China and all transit, crippled by oil scarcity, is grounded—just when Vincent needs a ride home.
As the plot unfolds, Vincent’s high moral values are compromised, as it becomes clear that an element in the U.S. Government is up to no good. He is confused and outraged by what he sees happening and finds common cause with Grace, who has evolved into a strong and capable woman. As America cascades into economic collapse the two unite to uncover the conspiracy, but the effects of “peak oil” intervene in the form of superpower political responses, including cyber warfare, and the couple must navigate through the growing dystopia to save themselves and find their hopeful future.
In his precise, crisp prose, Ainsworth weaves oil history and politics through the story, making In Extremis both believable and chilling. Let’s face it, we enjoy the books that resonate with our own perceptions, yet tell us something new. The book certainly informed me of many things I didn’t know, both through the characters’ voices and narration.
The writing is intelligent, logical, and persuasive. Reading In Extremis is an experience in cutting through comfortable denial and coming face to face with the hard reality of our futures when the oil runs out. It’s going to be way worse than the “oil shortage” of 1973. If you aren’t making changes yet, this political thriller is going to get you out of your easy chair and into action—and I don’t think driving a Prius is enough.
I’ve given In Extremis a big fat A. Ainsworth read parts of it in our writing workshop at Napa Valley College and I’m honored to have helped edit the book. Although I’ve read a draft, I can’t seem to put the published book down!
Tell him Ana sent you!