by Charles Pellegrino
Review by John H. Branch

And when the dust had cleared, they were all dead. The End.

No, its not quite that bad; some people do survive, but in the hands of Charles Pellegrino, a book such as Dust becomes the ultimate ecologicalcatastrophe thriller. One of the most frighteningly plausible books ever written, Dust begins with the discovery that all the insects in the world have suddenly died off, and it ends with a nuclear holocaust.

At first, a world without insects does not seem so bad. We would all certainly be better off without the pests anyway. No more flies, mosquitos, cockroaches, etc. But then the implications of such a wholesale die-off become apparent as things die and there is nothing to aid in the process of decay. And what about the flowering plants? They rely on insects for pollination. You get the picture. Without insects, there would be no more farming. And what about those tiny microscopic mites that populate our world? Without insects they would proliferate and run rampant, perhaps even becoming carnivorous in the process.

A scary thought.

As one crisis leads to another, it begins to look as though Mankind is doomed. But the major protagonist of the story is a scientist named Richard Sinclair, and he has an idea to take DNA from ancient insects, millions of years old, preserved in amber and use that to create more insects. Once the scientists have developed the technology, the race is on to repopulate the Earth before Man is destroyed by nature or before he destroys himself.

A scientist himself, Dr. Pellegrino realistically shows his scientists in action as they brainstorm one idea after another in their quest to preserve Mankind.

Although some parts of Dust are pretty horrific particularly when it depicts the survivors of a nuclear blast, I heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for an exciting, thought-provoking adventure.

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