I've pulled the plug on this one early, which is really disappointing. I have a lot of respect for John Birmingham as a writer and a person, but I'm just not enjoying this book.I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction, and what interests me about that is always the human mental and emotional responses to societal breakdown. As my partner pointed out, this book is much more focussed on the geo-political fallout, than the personal level human repercussions of a major world changing event. What's lacking for me is the visceral sense of dread that would have to accompany an event of this scale and type. For comparison, in Mira Grant's "Deadline" a scientist blows his own brains out when he realises the implications of a human engineered viral strain. In this book, the event is arguably much more frightening, but I don't get that sense of mind-bending horror from the characters in the book.What Birmingham has done is to write a complex hypothetical scenario, of what might happen in the world if America just disappeared, and this is interesting in itself. The problem for me, is that he has used a range of human characters from a wide range of cultures to demonstrate the implications, meaning that none of the characters are all that well developed or relatable. I had trouble trying to get the accents straight in my head, and even when I could, the dialogue just didn't ring true. I think this book may have been more effective if told as an alternative history, rather than character-based prose.I'd say this is a book for people who enjoy geopolitics and thrillers, more so than people who are into dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction.