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Surviving Home
by A. American
Plume/Penguin Books, $15.99, 499pp
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Morgan Carter, a believer of emergency preparedness, survivalist gear, and sweet tea, has made it home to his wife Mel and two daughters. After traveling weeks to get back to his family after an EMP-type event that caused all electronic machinery and devices to stop working, he finds life drastically changed.  Even in his neighborhood, societal values have quickly divided into groups with ideals that exhibit this behavior:  communistic (you must give us your food and property and it will be equally shared), totalitarian (I have none so I will take yours), socialistic (the government will surely take care of me), and theocratic (God will provide).   These neighborhood families are just a small representation of what society has become.  People who will do anything to feed themselves and their families and their neighborhood come under attack.  Morgan and his family and best friends have prepared their whole lives for this event and will fight to protect their families, their possessions, and their lives.   

This second book in A. American’s “Home” series takes us on a journey of survival with Morgan, his family, friends, and neighbors.  This tale also prominently features his fellow travelers -- Thadeus and (retired Army) Sarge --and their often violent adventures to come together again and the extreme measures they take to survive.

Martial law is in effect across the nation.  The Post Office is working with the Department of Homeland Security to deliver instructions to people to relocate where they will “most benefit the reconstruction of our nation.”  When Thad gets his instructions, he finds that he and his wife Anita and son Tony are to be sent to different locations with a deadline to be there in just two days.  There is no compromise; death is the implied consequence for not following the relocation orders.  While Thad is out hiding the truck and stashing food and supplies in preparation for his family to escape the government’s plans, he hears automatic weapons fire.  Thad arrives to find his house consumed by fire and a mail truck speeding away.  Anita and Tony are dead.  Thad seeks vengeance and kills the mailman and DHS officer in truly horrible ways.  Alone and with nowhere else to go, he sets off to find Morgan. 

Sarge has been called back to active duty to lead an undercover team to help the military and law enforcement agencies try to stop the government and DHS. Meanwhile, DHS has found out about these insurgents and will stop at nothing to try to terminate them.  There are some spectacular ambushes (the Army provides helicopters and firepower) where the good guys come out ahead, but not without casualties. 

Jeff Collins, a biker and electronics wizard, moves in with Morgan and his family when Morgan saves him from choking to death.  He helps get the computer up and running and accesses the information from Sarge’s thumb drive.  Thad makes it to the neighborhood and he and Jeff room together in a recently vacated house.  Since the neighborhood is near a military installation that has been converted to a FEMA relocation camp, eventually Sarge and his team also arrive. Together again, they plan a reconnaissance mission to the camp and find fences, barbed wire, and the refugees working under armed DHS guards.  It is here that they recognize one of the refugees.   Jessica, the college student who teamed up and traveled with them on the long trip home was imprisoned in the camp!  We end with Jess’s reflections on her imprisonment in what is actually a concentration camp and the hopelessness of the future. 

This novel – the second in this series – tells an exciting tale of the deterioration of society and the dependence of the people in it.  It portrays the American people as dependent on others and their willingness to believe that the government is here to help us.  From reading the first novel, I have a better understanding of the survivalist brand names, technical jargon and acronyms; although understanding it is not required to enjoy this story. 

This fast-paced, action-packed story easily stands alone, but I recommend that you read these books in order.  A brief prologue fills you in on the event itself, but only skims over the other main characters and their roles in getting Morgan home.  As with his first novel, I commend the author for his intriguing and shocking warning of future chaos and people working together to survive. ~~ Marie Davis

Book 1, Going Home is reviewed here

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