If Tom Clancy’s oeuvre was blended with J.R.R. Tolkien’s, the result would look a lot like this year’s Dave vs. The Monsters trilogy. Australian novelist John Birmingham specializes in offbeat, highly realistic depictions of how we would react — economically, socially, politically and militarily — to utterly bonkers events. You have to swallow the initial doozy he’ll throw at you — but it’s all frighteningly plausible from there.
In this trilogy, the highly unlikeable Dave Hooper finds himself at the point where two worlds collide. The first world is ours, Earth, circa 2015 — an oil rig off the Gulf Coast, specifically. The second is a demonic underworld of orcs, brutes, and dragons, who cherish ancient fables of when they freely roamed the world of above, feasting on succulent human flesh.
Once the barrier separating the worlds — hinted to have been established eons ago by merciful aliens — begins to collapse, it’s suddenly a full-on war of annihilation between legions of monsters and our modern military machines. A legion of orcs may not fare well against a wing of B-52s, but how long will the society that keeps those jets flying hold out when bumps in the night truly are monsters?
Bonkers, I know. But if you make it 30 pages into the first book, you won’t be able to stop until the end of the third. And you’ll be craving more.