For those who never leave home without a copy of the prophecies of Nostradamus tucked in their hip pocket, Steve Alten's new thriller is just the ticket. Domain focuses its doomsday scenario on an ancient Mayan myth and sets up an intriguing pair of saviors in Dominique Vasquez, a psych grad student who's an intern at a Florida psychiatric facility, and Mick Gabriel, her first patient. Mick, the son of two famous archaeologists, has languished in the Miami asylum for over a decade after attacking the man who publicly humiliated his father and who now happens to be the American secretary of state. The elder Gabriel believed he had unearthed the riddle surrounding the origins of Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the desert glyphs of the Nazca desert, the temples of Angkor Wat, and the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan peninsula--and that the answer pointed inexorably to the doom of humanity.
As the winter solstice of 2012 approaches (the day of reckoning prophesied by the myths of the Kukulcan Pyramid at Chichen Itza), Mick enlists Dominique in his effort to save mankind from the apocalypse. Engineering his escape from the hospital, she accompanies him on a desperate search to find his way into the pyramid before the radio message from space, which has already activated a deadly alien weapon buried deep in the Gulf of Mexico, can open a galactic gateway to a world where evil will reign for all eternity. Alten's talent for pacing far outstrips his other writerly gifts. The political subplot is ludicrous, the special effects way over the top, and the villain-in-chief, who happens to be named Borgia, is merely a cartoon. But the story is original enough to pass muster and the past success of similar apocalyptic thrillers bodes well for this one. --Jane Adams [via]