Artist and author Michael O'Brien has again proved himself to be a master of the writing craft, and one of the most original and creative writers of the late 20th century. Plague Journal, the second of his Children of the Last Days trilogy, continues the story of the Delaney family in Rocky Mountain British Columbia, from the persona and perspective of Nathaniel, now a middle-aged father and editor of a "conservative" newspaper. As the hidden totalitarian government cracks down on him for "hate-crimes", setting him up to be a child abuser and even murderer, he attempts to escape the madness by fleeing into the Canadian wilderness with his two children. The story, albeit filled with many flashbacks and the thoughts and ideas of the protagonist (actually the author's, thinkly disguised), takes place over only five days, as opposed to the 50+ years of its predeccessor, Strangers and Sojournours. The book maintains a pleasurable balance between fast-paced action and O'Brien's trademark gift of spiritual and philosophical insight and commentary. Plague Journal easily stands as the author's most explicit warning against modernism gone haywire: social engineering, abortion, technology-worship, television addication, the numbing of the imagination and intellect, and the possibility that these conditions may make us vulnerable to the arising of a thinly-disguised, "benign" totalitarianism, which, O'Brien conjectures, would operate under a facade of democracy, but in reality, force its will and world-view upon the people. This story includes all the necessary ingredients of a great tale: action, wit, unforgettable characters, pathos and even tragedy, but it is filled (especially towards the end), with a sense of hope, and the ultimate victory of light. The saga, of course, continues on into Eclipse of the Sun, but this shorter novel (only 269 pages) can be read on its own. Heartily recommended to all who are concerned over the present or future state of society, or simply enjoy great literature.