In this 382 page novel, published in 2011, James Wesley Rawles, a former Army Intelligence Officer and legendary survivalist, has written about what the world in general and the U.S. in particular might be like after a series of catastrophic events that lead to a violent, post-apocalyptic world. These events include a stock market meltdown, hyperinflation, power grid and phone system failures, broken supply chains, anemic commerce, and government failures at all levels.
The lawless, post-apocalyptic world he describes is menacing. In it, there are riots, widespread arson, and looting in major cities. Organized bands of looters move from small city to small city to victimize citizens. There also is rampant crime on a smaller scale. One husband in the book, for example, is killed for the gold in his wedding ring. A provisional government attempts to restore order, but does away with the traditional freedoms of American citizens.
In this novel, the reader observes people who band together and use their collective knowledge and skills to survive and, in some cases, to victimize others.
As the U.S. military is going defunct, the reader follows Andrew Laine, an Army captain who is stationed in Afghanistan, as he takes most of the book trying to find his way home to his family, friends and fiancée in New Mexico. Laine’s time outside of the U.S. gives the reader a feel for how other nations are suffering in this new, chaotic world. It also is clear from the dangers he encounters that most family members are facing similar dangers when they are trying to unite with each other during this period of lawlessness.
Laine is one of the 44 minor and major characters that the reader follows as the characters try to survive individually and collectively in their dangerous, new world. They all are briefly described in the Dramatis Personae on pages vii to ix.
Preppers will be happy to know that this novel is dense with valuable, technical details. Its glossary on pages 373-382 contains the definitions of 204 technical terms. Examples include definitions for weapons, ammo, radio communications, government agencies, Army battle procedures, and corporations.
Overall, “Survivors” earns a thumbs up. It is a detailed but highly imaginative novel. Especially interesting was the ultra light plane that was used as the ultimate bug out vehicle. “Survivors” is well worth its price and the time it takes to read it.