Earth reels in the aftermath of a savage solar storm, a global disaster of unprecedented proportion which leaves most of the world without electrical power or the means to restore it. Across the world, the responses of unprepared national governments are too little, too late. In the US, order collapses and opportunistic forces rise to fill the power vacuum, as what remains of a self-serving federal bureaucracy prioritizes the survival of politicians and bureaucrats over that of the general population.
As chaos and starvation spread, isolated pockets of survivors unite to survive. In Texas, Captain Jordan Hughes and a ragtag group of seamen and ex-Coastguardsmen gather their families close and resist the depredations of a hoard of escaped convicts. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a similarly determined group of survivors attempts to use salvaged resources, not only to save themselves, but also to feed the hungry.
But not everyone is happy about the efforts of the valiant and resourceful few. Secure in his Camp David compound, a corrupt president consolidates power and builds a mercenary force to deal with any possible challenges to his absolute authority and to seize all dwindling resources for government use and fair distribution.
Survivors of the natural disaster are thus dealt another blow as they're betrayed by the very government established to protect them. Do they knuckle under to a dictator, or do they push back?
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No Resistance to Push Back
"Taking out the trash"
This, the second book in R.E.McDermott's excellent Disruption series, is even better than the first. Set in America following a solar f!aring which has destroyed most of the world's electrical systems and with them, much of the basis of our means to preserve our elaborate civilization, it is the story of people trying to survive. This is a post apocalyptic tale terrifying in it's reality. No zombies, and without the usual vicious cannibalistic roaming gangs, it presents ordinary people trying to save lives and restore some semblance of normality and hope where so much has been taken away. And also those who see the potential to gain from other's losses.
There are a lot of people in this book. Many, but not all, were introduced in volume one, and all are three dimensional characters, living, breathing actors we come to care about.. They plan both to build safe havens and protect the many homeless, desperate others - or to grab wealth or power for themselves. And the two disparate types of groups cannot coexist.
There is action aplenty, much of it in very realistic ambush and murder, small group fighting or gigantic violent confrontation of small army size. But there is also action of the more peaceful type with later found survivors recruited to help and assist, problems overcome and survival information tried and tested. It could become tedious but, instead, it is riveting drama. As the author mentions in a short note at the end, he writes and rewrites until the 'polished scenes' emerge. And it shows.
The whole is enhanced by the narrator's reading of this encompassing book - and reading it is, not a dramatisation. In a clear, steady voice, Kevin Pierce recounts the story with a perfect pace, allowing the individuals to speak out on whichever side they fall as well as furthering the ongoing action.
The characters are real, in a plausible, even likely, scenario. I feel that I know them. I have feared for them. I learnt a lot from them. I will miss them - until the.next book.
- Norma Miles