The Rift

FRACTURE LINES PERMEATE THE CENTRAL UNITED STATES. Some comprise the New Madrid fault, the most dangerous earthquake zone in the world. Other fracture lines are social—economic, religious, racial, and ethnic.  

What happens when they all crack at once?

Caught in the disaster as cities burn and bridges tumble, young Jason Adams finds himself adrift on the Mississippi with African-American engineer Nick Ruford. A modern-day Huck and Jim, they spin helplessly down the river and into the widening faults in American society, encountering violence and hope, compassion and despair, and the primal wilderness that threatens to engulf not only them, but all they love…


“Rousing adventures involving an impressively vivid cast of characters: a plausible, sturdy, compelling doorstopper.”


“Part social commentary, part disaster novel, this near-future drama should appeal to fans of cataclysmic fiction. Highly recommended for general and sf collections.”

Library Journal

“THE RIFT is an engrossing, thought-provoking book. Science fiction author Walter J. Williams has done his homework. THE RIFT made me dream earthquakes.”

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“A long and tasty read, easily his best work so far […] The dangers are so well-crafted and described that this book will likely cause many readers to consider augmenting their supplies of candles and canned goods–and, certainly, their ammunition.”

The Oregonian

“The tension level stays high, and the good, the bad and the indifferent characters keep our attention as much as does the ongoing, cinematic-scale destruction. It’d be a very good beach book, if you could put it down long enough to get into the water.”

San Diego Union Tribune

“This is the kind of novel that will appeal to readers of conventional thrillers as well as hi current fans. Despite the large cast of characters, the plot is tightly written and intricately interwoven. The disaster is plausible, the characters credible and the eventual conflict almost inevitable. This will certainly be counted among the major novels of 1999.”

Luce Press Clippings

“Reading Walter J. Williams’ THE RIFT bought back that nostalgic feel of the larger-than-life ‘70s disaster movie, featuring an all-star cast, groundbreaking special effects, and Sensurround sound. I would categorize THE RIFT as an epic disaster thriller of the highest order […] Irwin Allen has got nothing on Walter J. Williams. Read THE RIFT.”

The High Seas

Awards & Accolades