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Within a few years of what people call ‘The Fall’, an old breed of men emerges; survivors with pioneer spirit, relying on no one but themselves. Slowly, the people begin to start building again. In the new America, death is always just around the corner, and a heartbeat away.
John Trent survives because he is better at killing than those around him, but he’s getting tired. As a courier for the army, he is on the move, constantly dodging raiders, and doesn’t know how much longer he can go on. Then he meets a girl who gives him a reason. The only problem is, a serial killer stalks the forests and is killing young women. Not only that, a band of raiders is set to descend on a new settlement John is ordered to protect. Caught in the middle, John Trent may not live long enough to enjoy his new found love.
The man in black stood on a balcony overlooking the inside of a vast warehouse in the waterfront district of New York City. His reflection in the glass partition separating the balcony from the rest of the warehouse showed how stark his long blond hair looked against his black shirt…and the black background. Black. His uniform of choice. It was fitting.
“How much longer?” he asked the man named Krueger standing beside him. Krueger was a mercenary, and good at his job. The man in black had used him before.
“Soon. The last group will be here in a few minutes. They are stuck in traffic.”
“Who is coming? Tell me again what groups you have recruited.”
“We have representatives from sleeper cells of our own people in nearly every state.
They will carry out the most important missions. The rest assembling here are a mixed bag. Patriots. Survivalists. Posse and Aryans. All trained and willing.” Krueger chuckled, but there was nothing funny about it. “We even have several religious groups.”
“How many in all?”
“There are over a hundred people under our control—all sworn to secrecy about their assignments. Each of them leads a group of their own. They won’t even talk to each other.”
“Do they know the real purpose of our cause?”
“Some will guess,” Krueger said. “Most will not. They know only what we tell them, and what they wish to believe.”
The man in black turned and glared at his companion. “You told me all was in readiness. I have brought the weapons with me. Disappointment at this juncture in time will not be tolerated.”
“Take it easy,” Krueger said softly. “Our cause is theirs. They all want simpler lives. All of them mistrust the government. To a man, they believe the collapse of the United States is what it will take to achieve this, and that collapse is inevitable. So, why not make it come sooner, at a time when they are ready for it, and can control it? They think of it as revolution.”
“Do these groups actually think they can retain control? Really?” His mocking tone echoed in the empty room.
“I don’t believe they understand the scope of what we are doing, or how quickly the end will come.” Krueger gestured toward a few of the men below who, even in this gathering, were openly carrying weapons. “And some couldn’t care less.”
He returned his attention to the man in black. “Your predictions? The two weeks? It seems such a short time.”
The man surveyed Krueger, then glanced away, knowing the mercenary was one of those who didn’t care.
“Not really, it is actually very simple.” The man in black held up his fingers, one at a time. “Electricity. Fuel. Transport. Food. The fall will come in that order. If we interrupt these things for just a few weeks, the collapse will come. Nothing can stop it.”
“But in two weeks?” Krueger scoffed.
“Ultimately, it is the food. Most stores carry, at most, a two-week supply of canned goods. Some have more, some less. Perishable goods will spoil more quickly. So, if there is no electricity to run the refrigerators, everything will spoil. People won’t be able to eat the perishables quickly enough and most won’t even understand that they should try.”
Krueger’s interest finally piqued. “Portable generators? Local power plants?”
“Where do you get the fuel to run the generators? And, there are never enough of them, even when there is a small power outage. Gas pumps need power. Hand pumps take a long time, and by then people will be killing for possession of what above ground tanks there are. If the trucks have no fuel and cannot deliver food, then the masses will be hungry. Even though people can go several weeks without eating, they will be hungry in three days. Hungry people do terrible, desperate things.”
The man in black smiled mirthlessly at Krueger. “There will be millions of hungry people.”
“What of the government agencies?”
"AFTER THE FALL is a somber, but hopeful tale. I was very much reminded, in a very good way, of every western I have ever seen with hints of The Twilight Zone. John is a worthy successor to Matt Dillon and Wyatt Earp, but Katherine is no Miss Kitty. She more than holds her own and is a perfect mate for John.
This is also a scary story. It could all-so-easily become a reality. Darryl Sparkman mixes elements of fear and hope with struggles and cowardice and heroism in a speculative fiction setting. Also well-depicted are people with morals and determination who know about sacrifice and are willing to stand up for what they know to be the best for what they are trying to build again.
AFTER THE FALL is not your usual romance, but John and Katherine do find each other, love each other, and work together to achieve peace. It is very good.
The narrative is spare but catches the reader up enough to really care about the tough situations and the safety of the good guys. The terrain is so well described that I felt as if I were on a horse, riding alongside John and Katherine. I recommend AFTER THE FALL." - Vi Janaway, Romance Reviews Today
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 228
Paper Weight (lb): 9.6
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