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Saturday, February 11, 2017

ONE YEAR AFTER (John Matherson #2) (audiobook) by William Forstchen

The Story Continues...

Published in Blackstone Audio in 2015
Read by Bronson Pinchot
Duration: 9 hours, 51 minutes

In this sequel to the bestseller One Second After, Forstchen continues to tell the story of what happens to a North Carolina community called Black Mountain after the United States is attacked by multiple EMP attacks from nuclear weapons. All of the modern technology is fried (computers, modern cars, the electrical grid, anything with a circuit board) and America reverts back to a pre-industrial technology level.

*********SPOILER ALERT*************

An Apache helicopter
This book starts one year after the ending of the first book which ended one year after the attack. The main thrust of the story is that the federal government has returned in the guise of an appointed administrator working out of Asheville, NC. It is unclear exactly who is in control of the federal government, but they are drafting most of the able-bodied soldiers of the communities that survived the chaos after the EMP attack. The largest cities, like Chicago and New York City, are in complete chaos. A leader of a cult has taken over giant areas of Chicago and has successfully resisted a federal invasion led by largely untrained troops. So, the idea is to recruit local militias into a million man army to re-take America - an army led, in part, by John Matherson, who would be promoted to General.

The main thrust of the book is a burgeoning federal vs. local conflict symbolized by this demand for most of Black Mountain's local militia. If the militia joins the national army the town of Black Mountain is left defenseless The federal administrator is a cardboard cut-out of a toady bureaucrat who does not really know how to lead people but uses his connections to bully them instead. He has the superior military hardware in the form of Apache helicopters, but no particular skill in using his advantage. In opposition we have John Matherson who has become his town's patriarch and is willing to have his town destroyed rather than submit.

The series of fights throughout the second half of the book were interesting but rather pointless. Why would this federal administrator want to destroy one of the few places that can actually feed and defend itself? His style is all wrong for a brown-nosing toady - those guys know how to manipulate people and this guy does not. Most of the conflict in this book could have been solved with two or three short-wave radio conversations that included John Matherson from Asheville to the new federal government location outside of Washington, D.C.

***********End Spoilers************

Bronson Pinchot read the book and, for the most part, he did a good job. However, the accent he created for the bad guy federal administrator kept going in and out and sounded at various times like he was from the midwest or the south. But, the character said he was from Boston. I don't know if it was a really clever intentional thing - something to emphasize the guy was a liar about everything, including his accent, or if it was just a series of mistakes.

In short, there is a large drop-off in quality from book #1 in this series to book #2. I will finish the series but I am expecting a lot less of the third installment. 

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: One Year After

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