James Wesley, Rawles work of fiction Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse, (Atria Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Inc., 2011) gives a horrific view across parts of the globe of rampant hyperinflation. Events unfold quickly, almost dizzyingly so. The main players of the story happen to be aware enough of the world around them to be at least in some type of preparedness mode.
Survivors presents a world view through very different perspectives from the characters. Each one is trying to make their way in a world of turmoil. Lars Laine, disabled veteran, resides in Four Corners with his wife and future sister-in-law. Ian Doyle, Air Force Pilot and his wife Blanca lose their daughter in a distant relative’s neighborhood riot. Ignacio Garcia, leader of the ruthless gang of thugs “La Fuerza” plan to use the opportunity of ‘without rule of law’ to take thuggery to a new level. Sheila Randall stores seeds at the behest of her mother for the purpose of using bartering as a means of income. The most disturbing part of the storyline comes with Andrew Laine, brother of Lars Laine, who has to make his way home to the United States from his deployment in Afghanistan. Andy’s trip is extensive due to lack of air or sea travel that occurs due to “The Crunch.”
What seems to be missing from Rawles’ gripping tale was an ending as well as character dimensionality. An ending of any sort would be preferable to just an end to a chapter. There is no indication of segue to a continuation of the story at a later date, nor is there a sense of finality. This leaves the reader with the sense of something undone and unfinished, as well as painfully wanting more. What the characters lack is any real sense of grief, fear, loneliness or loss of equilibrium due to world gone topsy turvy. This makes it difficult to transport oneself into the story, and see the ruination of America through the character’s eyes.
This is a fantastic wealth of information with a disturbing first twenty pages that are eerily reminiscent of today’s news. Stopping just short of being a great story, Survivors is technology heavy in presentation, so much so that the average reader may have difficulty comprehending the scope of firearms management. Unfortunately, this three hundred and seventy page novel complete with glossary of terms and ham radio shorthand often reads like a technical manual seasoned with a thin veneer of fiction for flavor. What is interesting about this concept is that for the reader that is seeking to have a greater understanding of options in a situation where paper money is useless, this is extremely valuable information. One is able to gain a greater concept of what becomes valuable in a world ruled a bartering type of operating system. This concept is hammered home in the reference to “…ammo is practically worth its weight in silver.”While you can gain a great many how-tos from the story, set any preconceived ideas aside about gaining an emotional or personal view of a post apocalyptic world.
James Wesley, Rawles is the author of Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse and a nonfiction survival guide, How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It. Rawles served in the United States Army as a Military Advisor from 1984 to 1993. He is currently a freelance preparedness and survival consultant as well as the editor of the ever popular preparedness website Survivalblog.com.
James Wesley Rawles’ Survivors is available from The Amazon Marketplace in hardcover, Kindle, and audio book formats.
Review sample courtesy of the author James Wesley Rawles.