A heroic prepper novel of collapse, retreat, and rebirth
When planes fall from the sky and the streets of Denver erupt into violent chaos, McLean faces a choice. He can drop everything and run for his mountain retreat, or he can go back for the woman he's begun to care about. Carrie was never part of his plan, but without her his plan may lose its meaning. Before their journey is over, she will have a greater part to play than either of them suspected.
Making their way out of a city in full societal meltdown and across the Colorado Rockies to the ranch where they hope to find refuge, McLean and Carrie's small band grapples with the dangers and obstacles of a world without order and a life in which the strength of individuals-- both physical and internal-- will define their ability to survive.
A power outage is the start of the problems in Denver as planes fall from the sky and and armed terrorists create chaos on the streets. McLean is part of a prepper group with a mountain retreat and a plan-get out of Denver. He decides to rescue a friend, Carrie, from danger outside the homeless shelter where she works before starting the journey to safety which will be easier said than done when the second EMP leaves him without transport.
I liked McLean who was a go-getting guy who knows exactly what he is doing and just wants to execute the plan and get to the mountain retreat. However he is close to the homeless shelter and is worried about how Carrie is going to survive, and abandons the plan to rescue her first. He had hoped to get further in his car instead of being stuck in the city but he just adapts the plan and prepares Carrie for a journey on foot. Carrie has her own plan though-she wants to go home and find out if her flat mate is ok. McLean is reluctant to stay longer in the city but doesn't want to leave Carrie, agreeing to go with her against his better judgement. It is here that they link up with Carrie's friends David and Shauna. It becomes a dangerous detour when the armed men appear nearby.
I liked this whole section because it was full on action and tension. McLean just wants to get out of the city before dark, before the terrorists find them and before a scared population turn violent. He is the prepper who has a plan and is frustrated that the others aren't listening to his advice about leaving, wanting instead to rest for the night at David's house. He knows he is right about keeping on the move but insisting on this means abandoning the others which he feels he can't do. He is proved right when trouble arrives quickly.
The next part of the book deals with the execution of McLean's plan which is further complicated by an army cordon around the city to stop people entering...or leaving. The group is split on whether to approach the military for help or not. McLean is of the opinion that the motives of everyone should be viewed with suspicion as these could be rogue units or terrorists in disguise. He believes it to be safer to try and find a way to evade the soldiers and get into the mountains where he has friends and supplies.
It was a bit frustrating at times to have every decision of McLean being questioned. If I was escaping with a prepper, I would certainly be putting my trust in him to get me to safety. But to be fair, most people in this apocalypse scenario will have their own ideas on what to do so it is a realistic portrayal of how people in a group would react. I'm no expert but I'd be moving as much as I could, staying away from main roads and avoiding any people I see unless I am totally sure that they are fellow survivors. It was interesting to be inside the mind of McLean, with the responsibility on him to find a safe route.
The last part of the book deals with the final journey towards the retreat where McLean's mind turns to how his friends are and if they encountered much trouble on the way. We start to meet a few other characters and I particularly liked Morgan. I hope he features more in upcoming books.
This was a good start to the series, an excellent prepper apocalypse novella. It'll be interesting to see how the series develops.