Full disclosure, I have a personal connection to the birth of the first book in what eventually turned into a 10 volume saga. Way back when, circa 2010-2012 (?) I was a regular reader on survivalistboards.com and stumbled across a post in the Books section by a forum member that was posting up anywhere from a few pages to a chapter at a time of a novel idea he was working on. He’d never written a book before and was soliciting feed back from the forum members along the way. As it turned out, it was a pretty compelling story and his thread caught fire. I found myself going back daily to check for updates as I was fully sucked in. This went on for months and as I recall, he mentioned that his book was going to get published, so he had to stop with the updates and I never found out how it ended.
Several years later “Going Home” showed up in an Amazon recommendation email and I put it on my book wishlist and promptly forgot about it until mid-2021 when I was purging my Amazon lists. By the time I ordered the book it had been close to 10 years since reading it bit by bit in the forum thread, and frankly I didn’t remember anything about it other than enjoying the story at the time.
Within the first 3 pages of Going Home I was fully engrossed, little bits and pieces triggered memories of the original draft and I devoured the book in just a few days.
I will freely admit, I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels and I have read stacks of stories in those genres. The one that started it all for me back in the 1980’s was The Stand by Stephen King, though that one is equal parts horror/fantasy, just set in a post-apocalyptic USA. But over the years I have read many, many books of this type and while I really enjoy them in general, they ALL seem to have some sort of really absurd, over the top element that diminishes the tale. The Survivalist Series is no exception BUT, there is more realism than in most stories along these lines.
The series starts with the protagonist, Morgan, several hundred miles from home on a work assignment when the USA is hit with (presumably) an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse), rendering all automobiles, machinery and power generation dead, suddenly and with no warning. Morgan, being a “prepper” immediately realizes what’s happened and decides he needs to start walking home to his wife and three daughters before the masses realize what’s happened and things start to unravel.
Morgan doesn’t get very far before he’s set upon by a serious young lady, Jess, who insists Morgan allow her to tag along on his walk, since they’re headed the same direction. Before long, the duo meet up with a third, a gentle giant of a man named Thad, and the trio set off to find their way home, back to their families.
As one might imagine, their journey is rife with dangerous encounters as the thin veneer of civilization is quickly ripped away. This, in my humble opinion, is where the author shines. He has a knack for imagining and realistically conveying how quickly and unpredictably situations can spiral out of control.
There is no shortage of action in the series, especially in the first few novels. And thankfully there isn’t an overabundance of political ideology being shoveled down the reader’s throat (another all too common irritation in post-apoc/prepper fiction).
The thing I liked most about the series is that it really opened up the thought process for me. Putting yourself in their scenario, thinking of how you’d make out, is something I find myself doing with a compelling story of “the unknown”. And this series brought up a bunch of things that I (as a serious and committed practioner of the preparedness arts) never really considered.
I don’t want to really say too much in particular about the story or the other characters, so as to not spoil the read. But I will say that I have no regrets reading the series, in fact I really enjoyed it, warts and all.
As for the gripes, there are a few, though minor. First, after the first few, the installments are pretty short for novels. And they were a bit pricey (paperback versions). I think the series could’ve been condensed to 5 parts instead of 10, not to shorten the story, but to have larger “installments”. And as I mentioned earlier, there were some very unrealistic parts that kinda made me roll my eyes and just gloss over, but after all it was to increase the action, so let’s just call it entertainment and leave it at that. And lastly, and this is REALLY nit-picking, there were some pretty obvious editing errors, like misspelling and punctuation errors. Not a big deal, certainly didn’t take away from the story, but I know some folks get really hung up and turned off by that kind of thing.
Overall, I’d recommend the series to anyone that likes post-apocalyptic stories. If that’s not a genre you’re really into, I’d still recommend the first book of the series. If you’re a “prepper”, give it a go. It will open your eyes to scenarios you never thought of and help you identify gaps in your own preparations. If you’re turned off by swearing, violence, pro-gun ideology or think that the Government is ALWAYS the “good guys”, you’re going to want to pass on this series. I don’t know that I’ll ever read the whole series again, but I’m not in any hurry to drop it off at the used book store either.
There was a rumor going round on the same forum a few years back that the story was being made into a TV show, but I don’t know what, if anything, ever happened with that. If it ever comes to fruition, I’ll be sure to check it out, it could be fun.
So there you have it, my first book(s) review!! A. American, I’ll give you 9 thumbs-up out of 10. Well done sir!
Thanks for reading!