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WesternSFA
Minerva's Shield
by Derek Hart
iUniverse, $20.95, 345pp
Publication Date: September 25, 2013
This is the first book in a new series by the author of a young adult historical fantasy series. This book is clearly aimed at an older audience as there is violence and swearing.

Bob Norton and his son take a trip to North Dakota during which they stumble across a mysterious medallion. Returning home they are visited by FBI agents asking questions about their trip. Shortly thereafter a terrible and strange storm strikes the city. An ardent prepper, Bob and his family are ready to bug-out and survive along with a group of other survivors. Unable to reach their first destination they end up in a fortified data storage facility where a friend of Bob’s works. Thirty people take shelter in the bunker and when they emerge it appears they are the only living people left in the world. More unfathomable is that there are no human bodies anywhere.

This installment in the series covers the initial inexplicable disaster and the survival of the group as they scavenge for supplies and learn to survive. There are sci-fi/fantasy elements in what could easily have been a straightforward end-of-the-world tale. The group survives initially because the mysterious medallion protected them in an unknown way, there are hints of demonic creatures lurking and mysterious entities just glimpsed but not clearly enough to identify.

Overall this was fun read, an apocalyptic tale with just enough mystery and human drama to satisfy and chock full of helpful and realistic looks into what it takes to survive the end of society as we know it. The ease with which the group kills others during their escape is somewhat disconcerting; but, then again, none of us knows how we would really react when faced with such choices. I look forward to the next chapter, Nike’s Chariot, as Bob and a group go on a road trip to search for other survivors and the answers to some intriguing questions. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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