Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel – Book Review

Sanctuary: Introduction

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” by G. Michael Hopf is the third in his “The New World” series. After purchasing and powering through the first two novels in the series; “The End” and The “The Long Road,” I was anxious to crack open my publisher provided review copy of Sanctuary and see what happened next..

Andrew’s Note:  You can read Grumpy G’s reviews of The End HERE and The Long Road HERE if you haven’t already. 

Sanctuary: A Brief Synopsis

Surviving the attack proved to be more than they could have imagined… “Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” takes place months after a devastating Super  EMP attack, and nuclear strikes which crippled the US, Europe and parts of Russia and the Far East. The country has slid further into chaos, as millions starve and gangs and lawlessness stalk the cities and country-side. The main characters, Gordon, Samantha, Sebastian, Barone, Connor and Pablo all set upon their own paths to seek vengeance, try to rebuild and consolidate, or simply survive.

Sanctuary: A Bit More

“Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” takes on a more epic tone. The main characters are all in search for some sort of sanctuary. Vengeance is dealt out by several characters. Allies gained in “The Long Road” are lost and new ones created. The overall tragedy of the story increases on all levels. Some try to build empires and brutal methods are often employed.  The morality of some characters’ choices are brought in to question, while others gain clarity after suffering untold hardships. Friends and family are reunited and new alliances formed.

Sanctuary: The Critique

I am just gonna come out and say it. Out of the three books so far published in the “The New World” series, “Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” is probably the weakest. Now, don’t take this to mean I did not enjoy the book. I really did. G. Michael Hopf has crafted a very engaging story for those that enjoy end of the world type fiction. The story in this book just feels a bit rushed. There are several scenes that come off as contrived, simply to speed the story up, and several story arcs come crashing together in the last bit of the book in a fashion that just seemed too convenient for me.

With that said, “Sanctuary” takes the series to a place where its vistas truly open up. While “The End” focused on the characters on a more personal level, and “The Long Road” started to open up the character’s stories more to the larger events going on around them, “Sanctuary” sees them starting to take center stage in the larger drama that is taking place after the fall of the US. In the canon of “The New World”, “Sanctuary” lays the ground work for the characters to attain the epic status that the story hints at.

Sanctuary: Final Thoughts

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” is another fine addition to the “The New World” series. While I don’t think it is as strong an outing as the first two books, it is a jamming good read. Final judgment on ‘Sanctuary,” at least for me, will most likely come with the addition of the next installment in the series.

Sanctuary: A Post-apocalyptic Novel

Product Details 

  • Series: The New World Series (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014218151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142181515
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces

The Long Road: A Post-apocalyptic Novel – Book Review

The Long Road: Introduction

The Long Road: A Postapocalyptic Novel (The New World Series)“, by G. Michael Hopf is the second book in his “The New World” series. If you read my review of the first book in this series, entitled “The End,” you’ll know that I am on a quest to reach a point where I can read, and review, the third book, “Sanctuary“, without dropping in to the middle of the drama. I powered through the first novel over the course of a weekend. I finished this one in short order, too. I  am going to review “Sanctuary” next.  First, it’s on to  a review of “The Long Road: A Post-apocalyptic Novel”.

The Long Road: A Brief Synopsis

“The End” was just the beginning of the new world”, states the blurb for “The Long Road: A Post-apocalyptic Novel”. This second book takes up the story of Gordon Van Zandt, his family and friends 6 weeks after a Super EMP attack, and nuclear strikes cripple the US. The chaos and danger of the previous weeks were just a prelude to the desperate times that now face the survivors. There are new allies gained, and enemies made. The chaos and tragic loses that Gordon, and his family face are just a mirror of the wide-spread death and suffering that envelops across the land. As everyone travels towards what they hope is safety, many perils face them.

The Long Road: A Bit More

Unlike the review of the first book, there might be some mild spoilers here.  Read on at your own risk. Like the first book, this one encompasses more than one story arc. They criss-cross; they are separate tales, though. In “The Long Road: A Post-apocalyptic Novel”, more and divergent arcs are introduced. Gordon, his wife and children, along with a band of close friends have escaped what had become a death trap in San Diego. As they travel towards the safety of their Idaho retreat, they are faced with a new and even more deadly threat. Loses are incurred, and new allies made. Sebastian leaves the Marine Corps and finds safety with a new group, as he goes in search of Gordon. The story of COL Barone, the mutinous Marine Colonel. who brought Sebastian, and the rest of his Marines home from Afghanistan, fully diverges from Sebastian’s tale. President Conner, and his administration face several new, and even more deadly threats as they attempt to rebuild a government with which to rule the country. Finally, a story arc about Pablo, a Mexican drug lord with dreams of empire, is fully developed from seeds planted in “The End”.

The Long Road: The Critique

Again, I found “The Long Road: A Post-apocalyptic Novel” to be very enjoyable. Compared to “The End”, there was much more action and violence. The story takes on a more operatic air in places, as well. It works though. The escalation of the violence and conflict around the central cast is a reflection of the wider spread chaos that encompasses the new world they find themselves in. As the title suggests, the book is a travelogue. This is not just in the physical sense, but in the emotional and moral sense as well. Another theme that is introduced is vengeance. From characters righting wrongs from the past to searching for vengeance for more recent actions, some of the story arcs take on a more ominous tone. The end of this book, like the first one, is another cliff hanger, leaving a reader curious as to how the story continues.

The Long Road: Final Thoughts

As in the first book, the moral decisions made by the characters are what drives the story. And again, there isn’t a lot of time spent focusing on TEOTWAWKI how-to’s. There are two conflicts that resonated with me in this book. The first is the moral conflict created by having to triage a large scale disaster, like that laid out in the series. Government forces have a finite amount of supplies and support which they can provide. When millions of Americans are faced with starvation, or worse, how would the powers-that-be decide who gets the limited supplies available? That leads to the second conflict, which I find intriguing. It is the moral battle between the forces that are seeking to create a continuity of government versus those who see a new paradigm and are trying to cast off the old ways in order to save lives. The idea resonates with me, because I have always said that the one thing a government will do, in all scenarios good and bad, is to perpetuate itself… even at the cost of the citizens it is supposed to serve and protect. This conflict takes a more prominent, central role in this book.

Again, I recommend The Long Road: A Postapocalyptic Novel for a bit of end of the world fun. While this book is more like an all-you-can-eat-buffet, rather than a Michelin rated 4 star meal…you’ll walk away with a belly full of TEOTWAWKI goodness.

The Long Road - A Post-apocalyptic Novel
The Long Road – A Post-apocalyptic Novel

Product Details

  • Series: The New World Series
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142181501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142181508
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces

The End: A Post-Apocalyptic Novel – Book Review

The End: Introduction

AJ got a request to review “Sanctuary: A Postapocalyptic Novel” by G. Michael Hopf. Since he has a lot of irons in the fire, and knows I am an avid reader, he asked me if I wanted to help him out. Always looking for new and hopefully  interesting books, I enthusiastically replied, “Sure!” When I looked up the title on Amazon,  I discovered that it is the third book in G. Michael Hopf’s “The New World” series. Not wanting to drop into the story mid-stream, I decided to read the other books before starting this third book in the series. So, here is the review of “The End: A Postapocalyptic Novel” which is the first in the series.

The End: A Brief Synopsis

The End: A Postapocalyptic Novel” asks the question “What would you do to survive?” The novel answers that question through the story of Gordon Van Zandt, his family, and his friends. A Marine veteran who’s idealism was shattered in Iraq, Gordon lives a good life in San Diego with is wife and two children. That idealic life is ripped apart one day when North America, Europe and the Far East are hit with a Super EMP attack, along with a nuclear strike on Washington, D.C. These attacks cause catastrophic damage to the infrastructure of the country and plunges their lives into a dangerous new world. Gordon knows what he must do and starts gathering supplies and organizing his community to protect against the encroaching chaos. Along the way he must make hard decisions that will mean the difference between life and death for his family and friends.

The End: A Bit More

Don’t worry, no spoilers in store, I just wanted to add a bit more about the story itself.  “The End: A Postapocalyptic Novel” is more than just the story of Gordon Van Zandt and his family. There are actually three main story arcs in the book. The first is about Gordon, the main character in the drama. The next is about his brother, Sebastian, who is a Marine sniper on duty in Afghanistan when the attacks come. The third story is about Brad Conner, who as Speaker of The House becomes President after the President and Vice President are killed in the attack on D.C. Aside from the connection of Gordon and his brother, the three story arcs are individual stories in their own right.  They criss-cross at points but are basically separate stories.

The End: The Critique

The End: A Postapocalyptic Novel” is an enjoyable jaunt. I finished it off over the course of a weekend. G. Michael Hopf uses a really nice literary trick to book end the story and tie the three arcs together. There is not a lot of action through most of the book. When it does come, though, it comes in thunderous waves. Even though there wasn’t a lot of action the story does move along at a good clip. Unlike many novels of the genre, there is not a lot of TEOTWAWKI gear-porn or survival skills descriptions. There isn’t even a prepper among the cast of characters.  Even Gordon, the story’s main character is more resourceful, than prepared.  His story has some good useful info but there’s not a lot.  Most of the story resolves around the moral decisions that must be made amid the chaos of the post attack world. The conflict that is created by these decisions drives the story forward. The situations the characters find themselves in are believable. Well, as believable as a post-apocalyptic story can be. The thing I liked most about the cast of characters is that there isn’t an untarnished one in the bunch.  They all make choices that are less than upright.  Even with their flaws, though, they are far from the worst in the new world they find themselves in.  By the time the book comes to a close, the characters are well fleshed out, flaws and all, and the reader is invested in them.

The End: Final Thoughts

The End: A Postapocalyptic Novel” is a good book. If you enjoy the genre, I think you’ll like it. It’s not heavy reading; still it will give you a TEOTWAWKI reading fix, if you need one. Check back next week for a review of the next book in the series; “The Long Road: A Postapocalyptic Novel (The New World Series).”

The End: A Post-apocalyptic Novel by

The End: A Post-apocalyptic Novel by

Product Details

Series: The New World Series (Book 1)
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Plume (January 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0142181498
ISBN-13: 978-0142181492
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces

Read Prepography‘s brief intro to EMP here.

Great Article on Roscoe Bartlett

I recently read this great article on what former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett is up to in retirement and you’ll never guess what it is…that’s right, he’s an off-grid prepper.  During Bartlett’s Congressional years he was almost the sole voice of warning in the House for our nation’s vulnerability to CME or EMP attack.

What lessons should we draw from this octogenarian who was a successful scientist and engineer turned politician (with access to all kinds of information reserved for our political elite) that turns to prepping full time in retirement?  Better get busy!

Lloyd’s Is Worried About CME – Today’s Quote

A Carrington-level, extreme geomagnetic [Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)storm is almost inevitable in the future. While the probability of an extreme storm occurring is relatively low at any given time, it is almost inevitable that one will occur eventually. Historical auroral records suggest a return period of 50 years for Quebec-level storms and 150 years for very extreme storms, such as the Carrington Event that occurred 154 years ago. 

The risk of intense geomagnetic storms is elevated as we approach the peak of the current solar cycle. Solar activity follows an 11-year cycle, with the most intense events occurring near the cycle peak. For the current Cycle 24, the geomagnetic storm risk is projected to peak in early 2015.

As the North American electric infrastructure ages and we become more and more dependent on electricity, the risk of a catastrophic outage increases with each peak of the solar cycle. Our society is becoming increasingly dependent on electricity. Because of the potential for long-term, widespread power outage, the hazard posed by geomagnetic storms is one of the most significant.

The total U.S. population at risk of extended power outage from a Carrington-level storm is between 20-40 million, with durations of 16 days to 1-2 years. The duration of outages will depend largely on the availability of spare replacement transformers. If new transformers need to be ordered, the lead-time is likely to be a minimum of five months. The total economic cost for such a scenario is estimated at $0.6-2.6 trillion USD (see Appendix).

A severe space weather event that causes major disruption to the electricity network in the US could have major implications for the insurance industry. If businesses, public services and households are without power for sustained periods of time, insurers may be exposed to business interruption and other claims.

From SOLAR STORM RISK TO THE NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC GRID prepared by Lloyd’s and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER)

Andrew’s Note:  Imagine what would happen if the Earth stayed in the CME for a full rotation…

Shield Us From EMP & CME – Today’s Quote

It is critical that we protect our major transformers from cascading destruction. The Shield Act encourages industry to develop standards necessary to protect our electric infrastructure against both natural and man-made EMP events…

Rep. Trent Franks via Lights out: House plan would protect nation’s electricity from solar flare, nuclear bomb | WashingtonExaminer.com

EMP Threat – Today’s Quote

If terrorists do obtain a nuclear weapon, it will likely not be a one-kiloton weapon but a far more sophisticated one from Russia or a rogue state…

The “brain drain” from Russia enabled North Korea to make (and potentially test) “Super-EMP” low-yield nuclear weapons that can generate very powerful EMP fields over wide geographic areas…

Even a low-yield weapon could knock out the [electronics and electrical grid on the] entire Eastern seaboard if detonated from a higher altitude…

Jordan Harms via EMP Attack: The Threat Is Real

The Real North Korean Threat

Frequent Prepography contributor Roger Reality wrote in to ask that I remind our readers that the 27 year old Leader of North Korea, Kim Jung-un just scrapped the 1953 Armistice that ended…really just hit the ‘pause button’ on the Korean War.  His declaration technically returns us to state of open warfare with the Stalinist state.

This puts us in a state of war with another nuclear armed nation…the first time this has ever happened.  I should also mention that this nuclear armed nation has also successfully launched a satellite into orbit demonstrating what is essentially an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability.  Put together ICBM and nuclear capabilities and we’ve got a whole new kind of threat to worry about…and it likely isn’t the one you’re thinking about right now. (more…)

A Nuclear Axis of Evil

As I listened to the President’s State of the Union address last night I couldn’t help but remember the same speech eleven years ago when another President described the ‘Axis of Evil.’  If you’ll recall the Axis included Iraq, Iran and North Korea.  The only thing worse than an Axis of Evil is a Nuclear Axis of Evil.

In case you’ve been on a low information diet this week… North Korea apparently detonated another nuclear weapon amid a blitz of anti-U.S. rhetoric.

(more…)

Kaku on Solar Flares -Today’s Quote

Solar flares are like bullets fired into space, so far we’ve dodged the bullets.

Dr. Michio Kaku via Could A Huge Solar Flare Knock Out Our Entire Grid? | TheBlaze.com

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