“Prelude may be the first thriller novel explicitly about peak oil (numberless thrillers concern the nefarious machinations of international oil conglomerates — ultimately those are stories about peak oil too). It follows a short period in the life and career of Cassie Young, an oil industry analyst based in Washington, DC. The opening scene places Cassie in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, on a fact-finding mission. This is a great place to start anyone’s peak oil education. Touted as the next Saudi Arabia and America’s future oil supply, the reality is that these hydrocarbons are dirty and exceedingly energy-intensive to extract.
Cassie’s story is one of continuous stripping away of the veils that obscure our oil reality even from an oil industry professional. As Cassie uncovers more industry secrets, enigmas in her own heart become visible as well. Following her journey, the reader learns interesting things about the oil business and alarming truths about political power and oil. Cobb does a good job of the writing with snappy pacing and plotting; his descriptions giving immediacy to places and people. Despite her name, Cassie (Cassandra) is not cast as a prophet of doom. Her story is about learning the truth, not about what she does with it. Perhaps Cobb will pen a sequel. It would be interesting, but the message of the novel is that this is our story, too. What will we do with the knowledge that we are standing on an energy cliff?”
Watch the (interesting) two-part video interview of author Kurt Cobb by Max Keiser: