I love reading books about post-apocalyptic situations, seeing how the author envisions everything going down and how people in the story cope during times of trials. When I was new to Prepping, I read several books for different perspectives and imagined myself in the same scenarios as the protagonists. I was the humble leader who quietly assumed the responsibility for protecting my family against a wide array of obstacles, threats and challenges. It is fiction, but with a dose of reality because in most of these books we have history to fall back on for a lot of the nastier things humans can do when confronted with a crisis. I read about an Economic Collapse in James Wesley Rawles’ book, Patriots and how Todd and Mary and their survival group had prepared for events like this with a fully stocked retreat. I lived through an EMP attack and the threat of biker gangs in William Forstchen’s One Second After and traveled cross country with Bishop in Joe Nobody’s Holding Their Own. Each one of these books catered to my desire to learn more about hypothetical scenarios and checked the box in the action column that kept everything interesting.
So when I was given the opportunity to review Going Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series) which just so happens to be right up in the same genre as some of those books that I really enjoyed, I was excited to see how another author treated the subject of an EMP attack that forces the author to walk back home to his family over 250 miles away. Most of the scenarios in all of the books I mentioned are similar in that there is some event that wipes out our nation from a standpoint of capacity not necessarily destruction. In the survivalist genre you usually have a collapse of our nation through something other than war or disease so that we are all stuck living through whatever the issue is, but there is no virus to blame or an invading country. The bad guys end up being your neighbors because we are largely unprepared to live without the conveniences we have become dependent on. When you take away power, our entire society crumbles pretty quickly or at least that is what everyone, including me believes will happen.
The premise of A. American’s Going Home, is an EMP event that wipes out the power nationwide. The book doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the how’s or why’s but you are led to believe the potential is that forces in our government are somehow involved. Morgan is our hero and you meet him as he is driving home from his job. When the EMP event happens, all the power is gone, electronics die and Morgan has to walk back home over 250 miles to his family. The setting is in Florida and since he is a prepper, Morgan has an insane Get Home Bag in his car. The book is Morgan’s journey back home and shows along the way how people are dealing with or struggling through the crisis.
What I liked
Like I said above I already like this genre, so the subject matter appealed to me because this is one of those things I think is very possible. If we do have an EMP attack and you are away from home, you have to get back there and you will face difficulty along the way. I wrote a post about this exact same subject a while back called “After an EMP Attack – How to Get Home When it’s 700 Miles Away” because just like Morgan in this book, I travel for work sometimes. If I was away from home, my first priority would be to get back to my family and I have envisioned some of the same situations that A. American (clever pseudonym by the way) writes about in this novel. He also has the beginnings of a back story that involves not so nice people in DHS and the whispers of a conspiracy. What is going on at the range?
The book has about three main characters through the majority of the story and I really like Thad and Sarge who I swear was modeled exactly off of R. Lee Ermey or at least every line he delivers in my head comes from this icon of military themed characters. There is a fourth character who begins the journey with Morgan and I think there will be a reappearance of her at some point.
What I didn’t like
I usually struggle with this section in reviews because I find it hard to critique someone for something I haven’t done but I guess we all do this every day. To tell an author that they have problems with their book is easy to do for someone who hasn’t written their own book (yet?) and hasn’t had to deal with the issues I am picking apart so I will try to be fair and honest.
One of the two things I can say kept coming back to me as I was reading this book are Morgan’s supplies. Morgan has done what every good prepper should do if they have a job that takes them away from home. Morgan has a Get Home Bag and pretty much anything you could imagine him needing is packed away in here. I think that he has more stuff than I normally take for camping but he doesn’t stop there. A couple of characters remark about how much he has, so I am sure the author is aware of the amount at some point, but I choose to accept that Morgan has a huge pack and he is a big muscular guy who can walk with a 60 pound pack over 250 miles with no issues after society has busted big time. Hey, I believe much more insane things all the time when I watch movies so why not?
The other aspect I missed was more of a back story. Going Home, is the first of at least three novels and I plan on reading the next two. He may get more into the details about Morgan’s history and the people behind the conspiracy in the next two which may negate this entirely, but I would have like to have a little more of Morgan’s back story. How did he get into Prepping and what motivated him to set his house up the way he did? This book was almost entirely about the journey with a lot of attention paid to routes and the normal tasks of eating and sleeping, hiding and route navigation. He does share a pretty fair amount of time talking about the specifics of his gear. I know you have to strike a balance and it almost feels like this was one huge story broken into three parts and even written all at once so maybe this will all play out as I go along.
The characters of Thad and Sarge have a lot of potential and the whole military conspiracy angle is ripe for content. Maybe that is forthcoming and I will find out shortly as I start the second book Surviving Home tonight. I did enjoy the book overall and am looking forward to what happens next with Morgan. If you like survival fiction, I think you will like Going Home from A American.