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Plague Journal

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Plague Journal is Michael O'Brien's second novel in the Children of the Last Days series. The central character is Nathaniel Delaney, the editor of a small-town newspaper, who is about to face the greatest crisis of his life. As the novel begins, ominous events are taking place throughout North America, but little of it surfaces before the public eye. Set in the not-too-di Plague Journal is Michael O'Brien's second novel in the Children of the Last Days series. The central character is Nathaniel Delaney, the editor of a small-town newspaper, who is about to face the greatest crisis of his life. As the novel begins, ominous events are taking place throughout North America, but little of it surfaces before the public eye. Set in the not-too-distant future, the story describes a nation that is quietly shifting from a democratic form of government to a form of totalitarianism. Delaney is one of the few voices left in the media who is willing to speak the whole truth about what is happening, and as a result the full force of the government is brought against him. Thus, seeking to protect his children and to salvage what remains of his life, he makes a choice that will alter the future of each member of his family and many other people. As the story progresses he keeps a journal of observations, recording the day-by-day escalation of events, and analyzing the motives of his political opponents with sometimes scathing frankness. More importantly, he begins to keep a "mental record" that develops into a painful process of self-examination. As his world falls apart, he is compelled to see in greater depth the significance of his own assumptions and compromises, his successes and failures. Plague Journal chronicles the struggle of a thoroughly modern man put to the ultimate spiritual and psychological test, a man who in losing himself finds himself.


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Plague Journal is Michael O'Brien's second novel in the Children of the Last Days series. The central character is Nathaniel Delaney, the editor of a small-town newspaper, who is about to face the greatest crisis of his life. As the novel begins, ominous events are taking place throughout North America, but little of it surfaces before the public eye. Set in the not-too-di Plague Journal is Michael O'Brien's second novel in the Children of the Last Days series. The central character is Nathaniel Delaney, the editor of a small-town newspaper, who is about to face the greatest crisis of his life. As the novel begins, ominous events are taking place throughout North America, but little of it surfaces before the public eye. Set in the not-too-distant future, the story describes a nation that is quietly shifting from a democratic form of government to a form of totalitarianism. Delaney is one of the few voices left in the media who is willing to speak the whole truth about what is happening, and as a result the full force of the government is brought against him. Thus, seeking to protect his children and to salvage what remains of his life, he makes a choice that will alter the future of each member of his family and many other people. As the story progresses he keeps a journal of observations, recording the day-by-day escalation of events, and analyzing the motives of his political opponents with sometimes scathing frankness. More importantly, he begins to keep a "mental record" that develops into a painful process of self-examination. As his world falls apart, he is compelled to see in greater depth the significance of his own assumptions and compromises, his successes and failures. Plague Journal chronicles the struggle of a thoroughly modern man put to the ultimate spiritual and psychological test, a man who in losing himself finds himself.

30 review for Plague Journal

  1. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    Excellent. Listened to this mostly in a marathon session while working on my future grandson's baby blanket which I almost finished in the wee hours of Mother's Day morning. Tragic story of a single father trying to hold his little family together while also fighting against 'the system'. There is sorrow, loss and misplaced trust, but also great love, true friendship and heroic virtue. Another wonderful Michael D. O'Brien! On to Sophia House! Excellent. Listened to this mostly in a marathon session while working on my future grandson's baby blanket which I almost finished in the wee hours of Mother's Day morning. Tragic story of a single father trying to hold his little family together while also fighting against 'the system'. There is sorrow, loss and misplaced trust, but also great love, true friendship and heroic virtue. Another wonderful Michael D. O'Brien! On to Sophia House!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    One of the best reads of the year so far. I have read a few of O'Briens books Father Elijah was also excellent. This book written seventeen years ago really nails down the plague that is eating away at our society. And no its not a Corona Virus like plague in a sense its even worse. I will leave it at that One of the best reads of the year so far. I have read a few of O'Briens books Father Elijah was also excellent. This book written seventeen years ago really nails down the plague that is eating away at our society. And no its not a Corona Virus like plague in a sense its even worse. I will leave it at that

  3. 4 out of 5

    John O'Brien

    I'm rating my father's novels here as a fan. But I'm going to decline writing a review for now, due to my kinship with the author. Suffice to say, I look forward to his books as much as anyone else, and find them deeply moving. I am not unaware of their flaws, but their strengths surpass them, and so abundantly, that I find them almost moot. I'm normally moved to the point of tears about 3-4 times per novel (If I find myself choked up only once, I tell him it's not his best work). He has a rare I'm rating my father's novels here as a fan. But I'm going to decline writing a review for now, due to my kinship with the author. Suffice to say, I look forward to his books as much as anyone else, and find them deeply moving. I am not unaware of their flaws, but their strengths surpass them, and so abundantly, that I find them almost moot. I'm normally moved to the point of tears about 3-4 times per novel (If I find myself choked up only once, I tell him it's not his best work). He has a rare gift of penetrating deeply into spiritual truths, which is a reflection of the person he is -- an artist who has been refined in a furnace of faith, not unlike many of his characters. Plague Journal is his shortest novel, and perhaps that's a commendable quality. It's in the format of a "journal" kept by the protagonist Nathaniel Delaney, as the social and political climate becomes increasingly hostile to basic human rights. Ideally should be read after "Strangers and Sojourners" and before "Eclipse of the Sun" (which all together form a sort of trilogy), but can also be read on its own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Hughes

    This was, I think the first book by Michael O'Brien that I read, and in some ways it is my favorite. It is much shorter than his other books, and it takes the form of a fictitious journal. It is dystopian, but only slightly, and in truth it has become more believable and relevant as time goes on. In 1999 it was a vague warning. Fifteen years later, it reads like something ripped from the headlines. Scary. This was, I think the first book by Michael O'Brien that I read, and in some ways it is my favorite. It is much shorter than his other books, and it takes the form of a fictitious journal. It is dystopian, but only slightly, and in truth it has become more believable and relevant as time goes on. In 1999 it was a vague warning. Fifteen years later, it reads like something ripped from the headlines. Scary.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    Now the Delaney family is leaving their home and community to escape persecution by the government. O'Brien is so good at using "the least of these," those to whom the culture assigns little value, in heroic roles, and the Delaneys receive help from such. Loved this story, the symbolism of the ark with its saving, protective power, and the blessing that comes from being vulnerable. Now the Delaney family is leaving their home and community to escape persecution by the government. O'Brien is so good at using "the least of these," those to whom the culture assigns little value, in heroic roles, and the Delaneys receive help from such. Loved this story, the symbolism of the ark with its saving, protective power, and the blessing that comes from being vulnerable.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heidi'sbooks

    Plague Journal is book 2 in the Children of the Last Days series. It follows Nathaniel now the editor of the paper, The Echo, started by his grandmother Anne. He writes his thoughts and viewpoints in the paper-- many against the government. The book is an apocalyptic or totalitarian story of what happens when you write contrary to the prevailing viewpoint. It is what could happen in a western country when freedom of speech is destroyed. There are some beautiful passages where Nathaniel thinks of Plague Journal is book 2 in the Children of the Last Days series. It follows Nathaniel now the editor of the paper, The Echo, started by his grandmother Anne. He writes his thoughts and viewpoints in the paper-- many against the government. The book is an apocalyptic or totalitarian story of what happens when you write contrary to the prevailing viewpoint. It is what could happen in a western country when freedom of speech is destroyed. There are some beautiful passages where Nathaniel thinks of his life and faith, vignettes on family, marriage, suffering. Recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Fox

    Really a remarkable book, the characters are incredibly human. Nathaniel, the main character, is endearing in almost every way—I found him exceptionally easy to empathize with. I am interested to see what the next book holds in store. I am already lamenting the end of this series even though I am only two books in.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Plague Journal picks up with a grand-child of the main characters in Strangers and Sojourners. It is riveting, scary, touching, and sad.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Helena

    I couldn't put this one down. I couldn't put this one down.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marc Berube

    That was probably the best book I have ever read.... but it might not be for long because I'm starting on The Eclipse of the Sun. That was probably the best book I have ever read.... but it might not be for long because I'm starting on The Eclipse of the Sun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maurice Williams

    “Plague Journal” is the second novel in Michael D. O'Brien's trilogy about the Delaney family and their interaction with their nation's government that becomes increasingly intolerant of Biblical revelation and the God revealed in Scripture. The novel covers about six years in the life of Nathaniel Delaney, but most of the story centers on five crucial days. This novel is sandwiched between two longer novels. All three cover four generations of the Delaney's. The overall plot of this novel is mo “Plague Journal” is the second novel in Michael D. O'Brien's trilogy about the Delaney family and their interaction with their nation's government that becomes increasingly intolerant of Biblical revelation and the God revealed in Scripture. The novel covers about six years in the life of Nathaniel Delaney, but most of the story centers on five crucial days. This novel is sandwiched between two longer novels. All three cover four generations of the Delaney's. The overall plot of this novel is more understandable if one is aware of the other two novels, but it is not necessary to read the other two to understand and enjoy this novel. The story begins on New Year's Day, 1999. Delaney makes his first entry into a homemade journal his daughter gave him on Christmas. The first half of the novel contains journal entries and reminiscences over the next five 1/2 years. Nathaniel Delaney published "The Echo," a small conservative newspaper critical of the growing acceptance of abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, and explicit Sex-Ed in grade schools. Delaney's articles criticized the government's rejection of Judeo-Christian views about God and the purpose of human life. The people controlling the government, strong enough now to harshly discipline dissenters forced the closure of Delaney's newspaper and accuse Delaney of "hate crimes" for speaking against abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia. His children Zoe (ten) and her nine-year old brother, Tyler live with Delaney and attend public school. Delaney confronted the school about the explicit Sex-Ed in their "Social Engineering" classes. He and other parents do not want their children attending the classes. The school excused the children but make them stand in the hallway while the classes were in progress. Delaney objected. The school consented to the children using the library as study hall during Social Engineering classes. Part of Social engineering is asking the children if their fathers ever sexually molested them, even placing a hand on them. Delaney realizes that this could be an attempt to brand some fathers as child molesters, perhaps himself. By time he realizes it, the principal had already taken custody of his children. Delaney storms in and takes his children before state authorities arrive. He flees with his children to the back woods, to an old, abandoned cabin owned by his grandfather. Now the authorities charge him with kidnapping. The government's efforts to punish Delaney and capture his children make chilling reading. A Vietnamese family, the Thus, help Delaney escape. Their son, Anthony, plays an important role. Maurice L'Oraison, a government investigator, also plays a key role, likewise Bertham Woolley, a doctor who once did partial birth abortions. Delaney writes his experiences into his journal. The journal entries are narrative. O'Brien also builds characterization through expert dialog. After five harrowing days on the run, Delaney is captured. His children escape. After Delaney's arrest, he makes another journal entry in his jail cell and hides the journal under his prison mattress. Years later, a retired R.C.M.P., who was a young corporal in charge of Delaney when Delaney was arrested, types the journal entries into his computer and mails a copy to the Delaney family. The R.C.M.P. officer explains that he was moved to new assignment after Delaney's capture and never heard anything more about Delaney. The corporal's final sentence says: "Things have a strange way of just disappearing lately, things and people." “Plague Journal” is a gripping novel that makes you wonder how you would act if your government became so oppressive that you lost your freedom, your civil rights, and the privilege of teaching your children the traditional values your parents passed on to you. O'Brien portrays a man who fought hard against this injustice, but the perpetrators became too powerful and tried to destroy him. This is reminiscent of what the Germans and Russians might have experienced when the Nazis and Communists came to power. Could this happen in our countries? If the world really is approaching the end times, and the Antichrist will soon assert power, will we experience something similar? You can't help wondering. How you would act under these circumstances? All three novels in this series make fascinating reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    there are a few things i want to say, and the first is that i want Michael O’Brien to observe a mundane event in my life and then write about it because WOW his ability to break apart ordinary events into their extraordinary underpinnings is REMARKABLE. #goals second, i was constantly surprised by how overt this book is, especially in comparison to Strangers and Sojourners, and do feel a little weird about there being SO many other literary references???? but i think the continual references to i there are a few things i want to say, and the first is that i want Michael O’Brien to observe a mundane event in my life and then write about it because WOW his ability to break apart ordinary events into their extraordinary underpinnings is REMARKABLE. #goals second, i was constantly surprised by how overt this book is, especially in comparison to Strangers and Sojourners, and do feel a little weird about there being SO many other literary references???? but i think the continual references to important bits of Western culture is fitting for the main character’s mindset and perspective. the most disappointing part of this book for me was the ending, not because it was a bad ending, but because it ended!!!! like WHAT! was not ready for this to be over 😭 so much happens in such a short period of time!!!! upon reflection, it seems we leave the main character right when we need to, after his interior work has been done — but i wasn’t ready to leave the others. so, looking forward to hearing more about them in the next book of the series!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I could sum up the main events of this book in a paragraph, which I won't do because I don't want to spoil anybody. The point I'm making is that the bulk of this book is not forward moving action, but it seems to be mainly a scaffold propping up the author's didactic extremely conservative philosophical meanderings on various topics from the degeneration of Western culture, to the destruction of traditional family values, to the decay of traditional Catholicism. He gets away with this because th I could sum up the main events of this book in a paragraph, which I won't do because I don't want to spoil anybody. The point I'm making is that the bulk of this book is not forward moving action, but it seems to be mainly a scaffold propping up the author's didactic extremely conservative philosophical meanderings on various topics from the degeneration of Western culture, to the destruction of traditional family values, to the decay of traditional Catholicism. He gets away with this because the book is written as a journal by a character who is a very conservative journalist and admits to himself that he is overbearing. While O'Brien's writing of often times powerful and beautiful, and I agree with many of his views (though not to the extremity he goes to), I guess I felt sort of manipulated into enduring long passages of long-winded lectures. That being said, I liked the story enough to continue on to the other books in this series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abs

    Protag is barely a character in a narrative- just the author's soapbox. At first, said hero seems nuanced and dynamic, thanks to the intentional subjectivity of the journal format. Then didacticism rears its head and you realize he's supposed to be 100% sympathetic. Totally perfect. The ~only sane man~ in a literal dystopia caused by non-christian boogeymen and critics of far-right politics. Gotta love those strawmen! Major plot point (school curriculum corrupting the youth, natch) is as ill-defi Protag is barely a character in a narrative- just the author's soapbox. At first, said hero seems nuanced and dynamic, thanks to the intentional subjectivity of the journal format. Then didacticism rears its head and you realize he's supposed to be 100% sympathetic. Totally perfect. The ~only sane man~ in a literal dystopia caused by non-christian boogeymen and critics of far-right politics. Gotta love those strawmen! Major plot point (school curriculum corrupting the youth, natch) is as ill-defined as it is disgustingly homophobic. It's one thing to challenge a reader's views, and another entirely to pass self-absorbed bigoted prose as art.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tomislav Mlinac

    There are some really great thoughts in the book, but somehow I wasn't able to connect with the book. I found it rather flat, the plot is used only as a poligon for philosophical discourse than a book, more like an article or a blog, than a book. I really appreciate the author, his beliefs and intellectual capacity, but I didn't feel this book. There are some really great thoughts in the book, but somehow I wasn't able to connect with the book. I found it rather flat, the plot is used only as a poligon for philosophical discourse than a book, more like an article or a blog, than a book. I really appreciate the author, his beliefs and intellectual capacity, but I didn't feel this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Frank Kelly

    Beautifully written and darkly phrophetic of the world we are evolving toward.

  17. 5 out of 5

    CarolAnne

    Not my favorite in the series but still a great read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexia Dvorak

    Quite prophetic!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Danna

    Very enjoyable - often felt like I couldn’t put it down. The thought process of Nathaniel is captivating and contagious. Would recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Moellering

    Another page-turner by O'Brien. He paints the world as it is and it's not pretty. Another page-turner by O'Brien. He paints the world as it is and it's not pretty.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Corrie

    You’d either love it or hate it. I loved it! One minor irritation: the daughter's name was misspelt 'Zöe' throughout; whereas the correct spelling of the name is 'Zoë'. There were one or two other typographical errors. You’d either love it or hate it. I loved it! One minor irritation: the daughter's name was misspelt 'Zöe' throughout; whereas the correct spelling of the name is 'Zoë'. There were one or two other typographical errors.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

    O'Brien is a master of creating characters you really care about. Enjoyed this read - he transports you to other worlds you just want to live in. O'Brien is a master of creating characters you really care about. Enjoyed this read - he transports you to other worlds you just want to live in.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie Taylor

    Every practicing Christian and Orthodox Jew knows the prophecies related to the End of Days. In his Children of the Last Days series, Canadian author Michael D. O'Brien shows readers what the beginning of the end might look like from a Catholic perspective. Plague Journal is like the prologue to George Orwell's 1984: the decadence of a wealthy society in pursuit of utopia, the elevation of relativism at the expense of ethics and morals, and the rise of groupthink as the ultimate "truth". At that Every practicing Christian and Orthodox Jew knows the prophecies related to the End of Days. In his Children of the Last Days series, Canadian author Michael D. O'Brien shows readers what the beginning of the end might look like from a Catholic perspective. Plague Journal is like the prologue to George Orwell's 1984: the decadence of a wealthy society in pursuit of utopia, the elevation of relativism at the expense of ethics and morals, and the rise of groupthink as the ultimate "truth". At that point, to be an individual with a conscience is something the State cannot tolerate and will go to any lengths to destroy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    This book was recommended to me nearly 10 years ago by one of my English teachers in high school. While I enjoyed the prose and thought the story line was fairly interesting, the over all message was so preachy that I had a hard time getting through it. Then again, that may be because my personal philosophies are at odds with those of the characters. If you like undertones of homophobia and are against abortion, then this book is probably for you!

  25. 4 out of 5

    D.M. Dutcher

    A very underrated and philosophical book about a Canadian journalist living with his two children through what appears to be the end times. It can be took introspective: the main character is often writing his own monologues or flashing back to the events of the past, but it's a wonderfully rich and human book. The thinking man's take on Left Behind. A very underrated and philosophical book about a Canadian journalist living with his two children through what appears to be the end times. It can be took introspective: the main character is often writing his own monologues or flashing back to the events of the past, but it's a wonderfully rich and human book. The thinking man's take on Left Behind.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Zink

    I like reading dystopian fiction. I can see some of the same themes in the society in our present society, and it is frightening. This is a story about an editor of a magazine who narrowly escaped arrest for his views. From then on, it is an adventure story and a story of growth. It is a surprisingly fast read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This and the other three books in the series take place in a Canada of the future which has driven Christians into hiding and everyone is controlled. people hide in secred places and battle the overlords in a attempt to free themselves. would be termed an apocalyptic Christian series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It's hard to believe that one author can be so versatile. It took me a long time to read Strangers and Sojourners--the first in this series. I read this one in four days. A very interesting futuristic novel. Much more believable than others I've read in this genre. It's hard to believe that one author can be so versatile. It took me a long time to read Strangers and Sojourners--the first in this series. I read this one in four days. A very interesting futuristic novel. Much more believable than others I've read in this genre.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jefff

    A poignant and prophetic story: it has been over five years since I last read this short novel and at the time I thought the events that take place in the book could never happen. But now I am not so sure.

  30. 4 out of 5

    wendy

    amazing apologetics; insightful living.

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