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.

Earned The Right To Be Citizens By Lawbreaking- Today’s Quote

It is also, frankly, in my judgment, a matter of who we are as Americans… to offer the opportunity to those who want to be citizens, who’ve earned the right to be citizens, who are present in this country–many of whom came here as children–to have the opportunity that we all have to try to become American citizens…

An earned path to citizenship for those currently present in this country is a matter of, in my view, homeland security to encourage people to come out from the shadows, to be accountable, to participate in the American experience, the American society,” he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson via Homeland Security Secretary: Illegals Have ‘Earned Right to be Citizens’ | CNS News

Andrew’s Note:  Is it just me, or does it seem like an bad idea when the senior official responsible for border security thinks that all you have to do to earn the “right to be citizens” is break our laws by sneaking past his thousands of border guards.  That’s almost as bad as having a Secretary of Defense who opposes our nuclear deterrent or an Attorney General who refuses to prosecute election crimes on the basis that they were perpetrated by “my people.” 

Organic Radiation? – Today’s Quote

Jim Conca, a scientist who worked at the facility from 2000 to 2010, told the newspaper he believes a change from non-organic to organic litter caused a chemical reaction inside a waste drum, releasing the radioactive isotopes.

via Kitty litter switch may have caused leak at New Mexico nuclear waste dump, report says | Fox News.

Nuked Manhattan – Today’s Quote

I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.

President Barack Obama via Obama: I’m Concerned About a Loose Nuke Being Detonated in Manhattan | The Weekly Standard

Ablow on Addiction – Today’s Quote

Yup, our nation’s getting high, not just obese. Food is just one handy drug, among many. And all the while the Iranians, who generally seem pretty slim and aren’t known for drinking much, and don’t care a whole lot about Kim Kardashian or Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan, are building a nuclear bomb. And all the while the Egyptians, who don’t seem to have much interest in defending American interests, are coalescing around the Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr. Keith Ablow via America is addicted | Fox News

Grumpy G – Author Bio

Grumpy G. is still on the young side of middle age.  He takes great pride in the fact that he’s been married to the same woman for over 20 years and with whom he’s raised their 2 children.

Grumpy GA large portion of his life has been spent in, and around the military.  Both as a graduate of a national ranked military academy’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Program (JROTC) and later as a Marine.  His first formal military training was at the age of 16 when he attended a 3 week JROTC Summer Camp at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.  Later, in the mid 1980’s, he spent the summer after high school attending the U.S. Army’s ROTC training at Fort Knox, Kentucky in preparation for entering the Army’s Early Commissioning Program where he excelled to the point that he was offered an Army scholarship to attend university.

Rather than continuing immediately with  the commissioning process, Grumpy chose to spend a year as a red-shirted Freshman playing football with a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division 1 school before returning to the military academy to continue his education.  After discovering what he euphemistically calls the “joys of cannabis and other mind altering substances,” he parted ways with the Army’s ROTC program.

Over the next few, somewhat rudderless years  Grumpy gained valuable experience in how to scratch out a living with hard work and few skills.  After a particularly comical exchange with an employer he found himself unemployed, slightly inebriated after drowning his sorrows and in front of a recruiting office late one night where the only service recruiter still working was the U.S. Marine.

Having grown up in a family proud to claim four generations of Marines, it seemed like providence.  The recruiter loved Grumpy G from the start as Grumpy G must have been the easiest ‘sell’ of the recruiter’s career.  Shortly afterward Grumpy was on his enlisted and on his way to Boot Camp.  For some reason the Marine Corps decided to train him as a computer operator, and over the next ten years he held various Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) mostly within the Information Technology (IT) field which was still in its infancy in those days.

After that first enlistment Grumpy G transferred to Marine Corps Security Forces and life became even more interesting.  After undergoing training at Mare Island Naval Yard, he was stationed aboard one of the last conventional carriers in San Diego.  At the time, the on-board Marine Detachment’s primary mission was security of Special Weapons (nuclear) and their components.  The job focused on local/vessel security, terrorist threats and procedures for dealing with broken or missing special weapons.  Then President George H.S. Bush sent down the order that Special Weapons were to be removed from U.S. naval vessels except submarines which left a number of Marine Corps Detachments without a mission.  Grumpy G’s Detachment participated in a pilot program for a new mission where they preformed cross deck vessel boarding for search and seizure (VBSS).  This was in the time prior to the official creation of the specialized Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable (MEU SOC) units, and Grumpy’s detachment was one of the first Marine elements, outside of the long standing Marine SOC community to perform such duties.  In addition to the VBSS missions the detachment was trained for pilot recovery as depicted in the final scenes of the movie Behind Enemy Lines, refugee evacuation from hostile environments, as well instructing Naval personnel in marksmanship and security techniques.  While serving in the detachment Grumpy G was selected for a number of leadership roles including  Corporal of the Guard, Assistant Section leader, M-60 Machine Gun Crew Chief, M2 Machine Gun Maintenance Instructor, Designated Marksman Team Lead, and Prisoner of War Team Lead.

After Sea Duty Grumpy G, with his new wife, a Navy brat herself, in tow were transferred the Marine Barracks at 8th and I in Washington D.C.  In addition to the ceremonial duties all Marines stationed there undertake he once again assumed the duties of computer operator with the addition of instructor duties.

After the birth of their first child Mr. and Mrs. G decided it was time to explore life outside the service due to the time commitments of twice weekly parades from May to October (which typically required duty to last until 2A.M.) and the prospect of even longer deployments away from the family once transferring duty stations.  Grumpy G moved his growing family back to his home town in fly-over country where they soon welcomed their second child into the family.

The last two decades he has built a successful civilian career in IT as well as become born again though he continues to describe himself as a ‘terrible Christian most days.’

Grumpy G has always seen the sense in living a prudent self reliant  life-style but readily admits that he failed to live up to his ideal until about a decade ago.  He describes his politics as Constitutional Republican with a hard classical liberal “NOT PROGRESSIVE” bent.

With the accelerated erosion of our freedoms over the last 20-25 years he has decided not only to start becoming more prepared and self sufficient but also to spread the word.  Even after a decade of committed preparedness he still claims to feel woefully unprepared but takes some solace in the fact that his family’s stance is better than about 95% of the country.

Grumpy G says his philosophy can be summed up as:

  • Keep your eyes fixed on your goal
  • Be aware of your environment; it WILL affect you whether you want it to, or not
  • The small stuff will get you before the big stuff has a chance to
  • Strive for community, with out surrendering yourself to it
  • Don’t worry about what others think of you
  • And live today like no other, so that in the future you can live like no other (which he admits that he appropriated from Dave Ramsey)

The Prepper Protection Process – Prepper Protection Function

Today’s article is the third in this four article series on the Prepper Protection process is based upon and adapted from the military concept of protection as described in U.S. Army publication  ADP 3-37, Protection.  Today’s article focuses on the role of the Prepper Protection Function within the Prepper Protection Process.  Previous articles in this series examined the Role of Prepper Protection and Prepper Protection Principles.

Prepper Protection: A deliberate process and collection of tactics, techniques and procedures synchronized and integrated to create a secure environment (or retreat), preserve life as well as conserve and safeguard the resources necessary for survival.

Prepper Protection Function (more…)

Radiological Hazards

Andrew’s Note:  Today we return to the MULTI-SERVICE DOCTRINE FOR CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL, AND NUCLEAR OPERATIONS , FM 3-11, MCWP 3-37.1, NWP 3-11, AFTTP 3-2.42 dated July 2011, Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.  Today’s entry is the third entry in this series.  In the first article in this series we discussed  Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Incidents and Hazards, in the second entry we went more in depth on Chemical Hazards then we discussed Biological Hazards.  In today’s finale to this series we look in more depth on Radiological Hazards including Nuclear Hazards.

Biological Hazards

Andrew’s Note:  Today we return to the MULTI-SERVICE DOCTRINE FOR CHEMICAL, BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL, AND NUCLEAR OPERATIONS , FM 3-11, MCWP 3-37.1, NWP 3-11, AFTTP 3-2.42 dated July 2011, Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.  Today’s entry is the third entry in this series.  In the first article in this series we discussed  Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Incidents and Hazards, in the second entry we went more in depth on Chemical Hazards.  Today’s extract goes into more depth on Biological Hazards and we’ll discuss Radiological Hazards in the next installment.


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