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19 November, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen

First things first: I can honestly say that "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen (Kindle edition) is not only one of the better examples of what I call Doomer Fiction that I have even had the pleasure of reading; it was also among the better experiences I have ever had while reading fiction of any kind.  Period.

Actually, I do need to clarify part of what I just wrote, though.  This is because "pleasure" might not be the best way to describe the experience.  To be perfectly frank, parts of it were absolutely heartrending to read.  I'm a grown man, and I am not embarrassed to say that I was moved to the brink of tears more than once.  That does not happen to me, outside of watching "Braveheart" or "Saving Private Ryan," so that alone should stand as a testament to the rich tapestry Forstchen paints with his proverbial pen.  The characters are real people with hopes and dreams and fears that are both easy to understand and endearing, and that is what makes us as readers feel so much as we are drug alongside them through the ordeal describes in the novel.

Without spoiling anything important, I can tell you that the story is set in a little town in the mountains of western North Carolina.  The main protagonist is a retired Army Colonel turned college professor; he is a widower with two daughters and a beautiful, sedate life, until suddenly the lights go out.  Without warning, America is attacked by an unknown enemy or enemies.  Several nuclear warheads are detonated in the Earth's atmosphere above the Continental United States, resulting in an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effect that cascades down and destroys the entire power-grid of the United States and all unshielded electronics.  One second, we are a world superpower... then, one second after, we are thrust back into the 18th Century with little hope of returning in the foreseeable future.  The thin veneer of normalcy and civilization is ripped away and society collapses.

In the wake of that event, the residents of the little town attempt to survive and build a life for themselves amidst soul-crushing food shortages, health concerns in a world dependent on the medical miracles of the 20th Century, and threats from outsiders.

A very good read and one I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone, be they a Prepper or simply a lover of good stories.

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