All that out of the way, let's get to it. Here's some music to get us pumped.
So when we last left our heroes, Lionel was looking for Judd. This section starts with Judd running after Kasim, in hopes of stopping Kasim's assassination plot. And here's where I massage my temples again, because I thought Judd had already talked to Kasim and talked him out of it. The only reason this series is forty books long is avarice and padding.
Basically what happens next is we get a repeat of Lionel's scene with the GT rising from the dead and Zod witnessing to people in a way that doesn't involve trying to kill them horribly. Me, given how masochistic I am, I'm waiting for the inevitable bullshit explanation Nicky Alps cooks up to explain all this, given how little Ellanjay understands human nature. Because right now, given the circumstances in the novel, we've got an actual factual miracle that might even give Richard Dawkins pause and in normal settings, it would set off a wave of soul-searching among every religion on Earth, but given that Ellanjay's lack of understanding...yeah, I'm looking forward to Nicky.
So Judd follows after Kasim, but as he does, the earthquake hits. There's some nice bits of what would be great horror writing (like Judd finding a human hand) were it not for the fact we're supposed to see the massive loss of life as good thing. Remember Zod is supposed to be the hero of this novel and of course the plot armor all the named characters are wearing. Judd tries to help a trapped woman but she is crushed, which provokes no kind of soul-searching even though he knows she's burning in Hell for all eternity. I know I say that a lot, but trust me, if you had read this part of the novel, with the unnamed woman begging and saying, "I don't want to die," you'd understand.
Then we go back to Lionel. Lionel struggles to help a woman rescue her husband from an elevator only to discover, when he forces the elevator open, that all the occupants are dead. Again, there is no identifying information attached to this woman or her husband and this is only described in the abstract, in an attempt to keep the readers from thinking treasonous thoughts like "Hey this as far as I know, basically good human is suffering from all eternity because Zod smashed the elevator's cables." Again, you've got to wonder what kind of novel Stephen King could hash out with the PMD checklist because it has all the elements of a great horror novel: humans at the mercy of an all-powerful force. Lovecraft himself had a field day with those kinds of stories.
Lionel's section ends with the announcement that Nicky's gala will continue as scheduled. Gotta give Nicky props: that is genuinely evil, a real "Nero fiddles while Rome burns" moment.
Next we cut to Vicki and the American branch of the YTF, who are bravely watching the events unfold on television. Shelly asks if any believers will die in the quake, which is a major headdesking statement, if ever I heard one. Not to mention the whole mess of
“I’m not sure,” Vicki said. “I think these judgments are mainly to get the attention of unbelievers, but Loretta and Donny Moore and Ryan and a bunch of other believers died in the wrath of the Lamb earthquake.”
And we get another mention of Ryan! Like I said before, I really should have started a tally, because even in death, he remains the series' butt monkey.
I can't help but wonder what would happen if the members of the YTF said The Prayer, but mostly continued to live their lives (didn't read Token Jew's epistles or go to church or anything religious like that). Because given that you're going to get punted no matter what you do, worshiping Zod is pointless, since He wants to burn up the wheat and the tares. Of course, in addition to what I suggested, they could help take care of those hurt by the disasters by providing food and shelter, but that may be too much to expect from these novels.
Vicki notices Darrion sitting alone. Darrion apparently feels guilty about something but won't say what it is to Vicki. She just asks to be left alone so she can think and that's where Vicki's section ends.
Judd is forcing his way through the rubble, trying to find Kasim, and, in true Tribble fashion, not giving a damn about the others trapped. He finds Kasim dead, so we can stop worrying about him actually doing stuff to stop Nicky. But the chapter ends with Judd finding Z-Van trapped in the rubble. :massages temples: Don't tell me that the Madonna Dahmer-ripoff I know and love is going to convert.
Next chapter, we get a brief moment, a very brief moment, of introspection from Judd as he wonders why Z-Van was allowed to live while Kasim died. Naturally it doesn't last long and of course, Judd doesn't follow this train of thought to its logical extreme that if you get punted no matter what, what's the point in worshiping Zod?
Judd is unable to get Z-Van out from under the rubble, so Judd gives him a bottle of water and they talk for a few minutes. Z-Van reveals his real name is Myron. After this conversation, Judd hears a GC truck calling for volunteers and runs towards it in hopes of finding help for Z-Van. Applaud, people: Judd is showing rare compassion right now.
We cut back to Vicki's group, who is still watching television. Basically all that happens is Leon Fortunado comes on the air and says the gala will continue as scheduled and that Nicky Imeon is personally involved in the search for survivors.
Next section, Judd and Lionel are finally reunited. Woo...They pull Z-Van from the rubble and take him to General Jew's house. They watch a newscast while trying to treat Z-Van's injuries and we get an actual number on how many people have died in this latest disaster: the newscast says an estimated 7000 people are feared dead. That's twice the number of people killed in the 9/11 disaster but I doubt Ellanjay will linger long on this nor delve into the consequences of so many people dying. Ellanjay would get along well with Josef "a million deaths is a statistic" Stalin.
The chapter ends with the announcement that Chaim Rosenzweig (whom I'm tempted to dub "Inventor Jew") has recovered from his stroke (though is still in a wheelchair) and will be at the ceremony. Judd then reflects that soon Nicky will be possessed by Satan.