The Sky is Falling
Author: Sydney Sheldon
Sydney Sheldon has written some very popular fiction thrillers including the ‘The other side of Midnight’, Rage of Angels, Master of the Game, Bloodline, Windmills of the Gods , The Doomsday Conspiracy among the others. Most of his novels have been number one International bestsellers. Some of his books have been made into highly successful Television mini-series. He has also written screenplay for scores of motion pictures including ‘Easter Parade’ starring Judy Garland. Sydney Sheldon is now included in the Guiness Book of Records as ‘ The Most Translated Author’.
About the book ‘The sky is falling’
According to the author’s note this work of fiction is based on actual facts. Sidney Sheldon based his book on the reports of theft of Plutonium and the secret underground organization and the underground city Krasnoyarsk -26, one of thirteen closed cities engaged in Nuclear production, located in Siberia , 2000 miles from Moscow.Since its creation in 1958 , it has produced more than forty five tons of weapons- grade Plutonium.Although two of its reactors were shut down in 1992, one remains active currently producing half a ton of Plutonium a year, which can be used to make Atomic Bombs..The many controversies that surrounded this subject made Sheldon choose this plot for this novel.
It is the story of Dana Evans, 27 years old Beautiful young Anchorwoman with a Washinton TV network, back from war torn Sarajevo. Dana is still being traumatised and haunted by the horrifying experiences that she underwent in Sarajevo. She brings back and adopts Kemal, a 12 year old orphaned boy from Sarajevo, having lost his entire family and an arm to the bloody war. Dana manages her busy and demanding work schedule along with trying to help Kemal acclamatise to a normal and a very different surrounding back in Washington, besides trying to find enough time to spend with her Good looking Boyfriend Jeff Connor. Jeff Connor , a former All-star pitcher , after an accident had taken up a career as a sports reporter with WTN where Dana too worked.
The TV Channel WTN is owned by an International movie tycoon Elliot Cromwell . Dana’s Interview and newscast on the channel was different from others and it was a great hit with the viewers. A chance meeting with the young , handsome and successful Gary Winthrop, a prince charming of America , a member of one of the country’s most prominent families gave an opportunity for Dana to interview him. If America had a Royal family the Charismatic Winthrops would easily wear the crown. But in less than a year all five members of the Winthrop family , including Gary are killed in a series of Freak accidents . Gary is supposedly killed by thieves who were after his prized possession of paintings.
Dana sees something sinister behind their deaths and begins an investigation with the approval of her News channel, that yields evidence she could hardly believe. She realises that Taylor Winthrop, Gary’s father and head of the Winthrop family , who had an impeccable reputation, having done everything to he could do to make the society a better place had some dark secrets. Dana’s search results in a cat and mouse chase that leads her through half a dozen countries in search of a remorseless killer. As she closes in on her suspects the shocking secrets Dana unearths puts her and her son Kemal in danger and Dana becomes the hunted..
My views on this book
This is another very interesting plot by Sydney Sheldon. It has all the ingredients to make it a super suspenseful and super hit novel like his previous books.
On the plus side, it starts off very well with a lot of promise with the suspense building up page by page. Dana’s investigations which keep her busy and her boyfriend Jeff kept busy by his ex-wife Rachel because of her life threatening illness. The two plots run side by side with Dana feeling low and wondering as to what is happening to her relationship with Jeff? Dana is forced to face the calamity all by herself, and this with the added problem and responsibility of taking care of Kemal. I think it was a nice touch, having this child in the plot . There is a deviation from the plot at the beginning as we read accounts of Kemal’s horrifying tale in Sarajevo.
The suspense is well kept right until the last pages, as Dana laboriously collects her evidence bit by bit. But the most disappointing part of the book is its climax which falls somewhat flat after all that build up.
I personally feel that Sydney Sheldon is nowhere as good as he was in his earlier novels like ‘Rage of Angels’ , ‘The other side of Midnight’ etc The depth is totally lacking in this novel. It turned out to be quite average in the end. I wish he had taken care to see that there is the right amount of balance to make the plot believable. The characters are weak especially Jeff’s , who seems to appear and disappear mainly in conversations with Dana at regular frequencies. Sydney Sheldon’s central characters are mostly ladies- women with strength, and , Dana is no doubt such a character though she does not come anywhere near that of Jennifer parker’s in ‘ Rage of Angels’..
I am not saying that the book is a total write off or any such thing , or that there is any lack of suspense or action. There is plenty of that , but somehow it reads more like a film script not a gripping novel and because of that it fails to have the right amount of impact. In fact i have noticed that with many of his later books- as if he has written the story solely with the purpose of making a film out of it..
On the whole , i can conclude that it is an absorbing book that one can read while travelling or while waiting to board a flight. I wouldn’t read it a second time like i did with his other books that i mentioned earlier.Those were far superior in quality and content..
Summary: Good story and good narrative