William R. Forstchen has released the final book in his John Matheson series and it makes a perfect conclusion to the saga of a small community in North Carolina as it deals with an apocalypse that, for once, has nothing to do with zombies.
The story began with One Second After and continued with One Year following an event in which three atomic bombs were detonated high in the atmosphere and sent massive electromagnetic pulse or EMP across the country that fried every computer or sophisticated electronic circuit in the country. Airplanes fell out of the sky, Electric power plants quit, Cars died, elevators trapped people. Those on ventilators and respirators died. There was no way to transport food quickly, and those in large cities starved.
Civilization fell apart. Bands of marauders looted, some turned cannibal. Without electricity, the country retreated technologically to the 1800s.
In the little college town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, college history teacher John Matheson proves to be an excellent leader, but he has to deal with problems as much within his community as without. Black Mountain learns to defend its small patch of re-emerging civilization, sometimes against overwhelming odds.
The victories, as in real life, are not without costs, all the more wrenching because the characters are well fleshed-out, complex and believable.
Forstchen is an excellent storyteller, and the first to write about the dangers of EMP, a subject all of us would do well to understand. The books also deal with complex moral questions such as when should a soldier disobey an order he knows is morally wrong.
You can hear our interview with William Forstchen by clicking on the grey podcast box below.