Thursday, December 29, 2005

Book Review: Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald

Terrifying, Memorable, and Unique
Level 7 represents the journal of Officer X-127, a member of an elite Armed Forces unit. X-127 reports to the bottom-most layer (level 7) of a highly secure facility, where he is then ordered to set off a massive nuclear attack. The facility is a city unto itself, four thousand feet underground and fully prepared to withstand a direct attack and the resulting radiation for many decades.

Chosen for their ability to follow orders and to withstand the confines of the facility, X-127 and his fellow officers must now come to grips with the fact that they may, in fact, never leave. The surface of the Earth has been transformed into a radiological wasteland, but those in the facility -- some of whom represent a "continuity of government" operation -- will be safe.

Or so it seems. Reports of radiation poisoning begin to filter in from the higher levels of the facility. With a gripping, impending sense of doom, Roshwald takes us on a journey into the true meaning of mutually assured destruction.

I first read this book upwards of 30 years ago. It has never left me. Was it because I was young? Impressionable? I don't know, but the book certainly left an indelible footprint in my mind that few, if any, other work can match. Whatever Roshwald constructed in Level 7 was utterly unique and memorable beyond description.

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