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Under A Graveyard Sky – A Review

We don’t talk much about zombies here at Prepography… except on Halloween when the zombies come out to play… so when I heard that one of my favorite military writers, John Ringo had tried his hand at the zombie genre I couldn’t help but pick it up with an eye towards a Halloween zombie book review of Under A Graveyard Sky…but then I liked it so much I read the whole series… John Ringo’s a military veteran and specifically a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division where I spent my first few years in the Army.  From the first time I picked up one of Ringo’s military science fiction books I found myself recognizing the characters and the conversations he wrote because that’s how we thought, talked and related back in ‘Division.’  As he developed his writing craft he expanded his vocabulary to speak the language of other services.  In this latest series, Black Tide Rising John channels his inner Marine…but more about that later. Under A Graveyard Sky and it’s sequels To Sail a Darkling Sea and Islands of Rage and Hope (Strands of Sorrow is due out early next year) take place in an apocalyptic near future where a bioweapon has been released on the world.  This bioweapon was engineered not only to attack the U.S. but to do so in a way that plays on the terror that we’ve built into the zombie genre.  The zombies aren’t supernatural creatures or the returned dead… they’re victims of an artificially created pandemic designed to bring out the basest and most violent tendencies of the human race.  With the disease’s rapid spread throughout the world there’s no place safe even for those who are lucky enough to have received the morally questionable vaccine. The story centers around the Smith family.  John, Stacey and their daughters Sophia and Faith are Australian born naturalized citizens and Preppers.  John was an Australian paratrooper...

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...

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...

Forsaking Home – Book Review

Regular readers may recall that I reviewed the first three books in A. American’s The Survivalist Series back in January.  Those books,  Going Home, Surviving Home and Escaping Home weren’t just chock full of action, novel story lines and interesting ideas for preppers but also grew progressively better in both the form and the function of their construction and presentation.  In his latest sequel, Forsaking Home, A. American has demonstrated a true mastery, not just of his genre, but also of the writer’s craft. No electricity. No running water. No food. No end in sight. If life as you knew it changed in an instant, would you be prepared? Forsaking Home picks up where Escaping Home leaves off.  Morgan Carter, his family and several friends… including Morgan’s longtime companion, Thad, are surviving in the primitive riverside cabins they were forced to flee to when those in power decided to bully everyone into moving into a nearby refugee camp. ‘Sarge’ and the soldiers under his command continue to fight for their country by opposing a tyrannical local Department of Homeland Security camp commander while Jessie suffers within that same camp. Much of Forsaking Home deals with life on the river in a post collapse era.  Some of the more memorable passages involve organizing foraging parties, the teaching of foraging techniques to Morgan’s children and companions and dealing with the emotions and depression that such a significant change in fortunes would necessarily create.  However, the Carter family’s sylvan life on the river is far from safe, but those dangers as well as Sarge’s ongoing war against the forces of oppression provide an interesting juxtaposition to Carter’s search for a peaceful and tranquil life for his family.  Meanwhile, unknown to the other characters, Morgan’s former traveling companion, Jessie is enduring incarceration in the very camp that Morgan avoided and Sarge is opposing.  Jessie’s existence is one of...

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...

American Gun by Chris Kyle: Book Review

“American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms” tells a story of America as seen over the sights of 10 iconic firearms.  The author, Chris Kyle, accomplishes this by taking these ten American firearms and placing them in their historical context.   The tale that develops gives a broad look at the US from the time of its founding until the present.  It details the development and use of each of the firearms in the times they were prominent.  Kyle intersperses personal recollections and experience along with historical facts,some rather obscure, in to the story.  Being a firearms expert, with extensive combat experience, he obviously enjoys himself along the way Starting with the American Long Rifle, Kyle tells the tale of how American sharpshooters broke the rules of gentlemanly behavior to help win American independence.   The story then moves to the Civil War era and the expansion West.  He tells of these times with three guns. The first is the Spencer Rifle.  Kyle tells how the bureaucracy of the Civil war era Army almost nixed a gun that went on to help win decisive battles like Gettysburg. The Colt Single Action Army Revolver comes out of the holster, next.  It’s story spans the Civil War and comes to a climax at the OK Coral in Tombstone, Arizona. The last gun in this epoch is the  Winchester 73.   Kyle details its development and how it went on the help tame the West. From the Wild West, the tale jumps forward to the turn of the century and through WWII.  The next trio of guns helped win WWI and then played important roles in the Gangster era of the 20’s and 30’s.  In the end, they went on to defeat the Axis powers in 1940s. The first gun, the 1903 Springfield, is a story of adaptation and change.  Developed from the German Mauser, it went on to the trenches...

Deliverance – Book Review

I have faint memories of watching a movie called Deliverance during my teen years.  I remembered it as a wilderness survival tale starring Burt Reynolds that had one particularly memorable yet unfortunate scene starring Ned Beatty.  Anyone who’s seen the movie will remember that particular scene and if you’ve read the book you can guess which scene I’m describing…I won’t ruin if for those of you who haven’t seen the movie or read the book so you can rest assured that there are no major spoilers in this Deliverance book review. I like survival tales so when I noticed an audiobook version of James Dickey’s novel, Deliverance was available and narrated by one of my favorite actors and narrators, Will Patton I bought it without knowing much more about it.  As it turned out, not only is this book the novel on which the screenplay (also written by James Dickey) was based, but it’s also a feature of many of the ‘Top 100 Novels’ lists including Time Magazine’s ‘All Time (since the magazine’s inception in 1923) 100 Novels.’ Deliverance is a first person narrated story of four middle aged friends who head into the backwoods of Georgia to canoe the fictional and savage Cahulawassee River before it disappears forever beneath the waters of the planned Cahulawassee Reservoir. A series of misadventures eventually leads to the death of one of the canoeists and a local backwoodsman.  What follows is a struggle for survival.  The survival struggle takes multiple forms…it’s the men against the locals, the men against the river and it also takes place between the men and their own natures.  There’s nothing stereotypical about the way the canoeists react to their situation even as they are held captive to their stereotypical views of the local rednecks…this creates a story that doesn’t follow the expected pattern and is refreshingly original. The...

Prepper Pete Prepares – A Book Review

In general I’m very hesitant to expose very young children to the idea of preparedness.  Children need to feel loved and safe and the idea of preparedness can cause extreme anxiety in those not yet emotionally able to deal with the possibilities…heck, in my experience most adults aren’t intellectually and emotionally mature enough to understand the need for preparedness.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for teaching children age appropriate preparedness skills, just not scaring the wits out of them.  That said, when Kermit Jones, Jr. contacted me and said he’d like to send me a preparedness book he’d written for kids, I thought I’d at least see if he had a better approach.  That book is Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids. Prepper Pete Prepares: An Introduction to Prepping for Kids was written by Kermit Jones, Jr. and illustrated by Christy Brill.  This story is the first book in a planned series that already includes six books, two of which have already been published.  The author describes the series purpose as highlighting “a handful of reasons to prepare in a simplistic, non-threatening manner.” This first book follows an ant named Pete who decides that he and his family need to be better prepared and starts his preparedness journey by learning skills, storing food and purchasing firearms.  Jones describes the message of the book as “Some people prepare because they are afraid.  Our family doesn’t have to be afraid…because we are prepared!” The books are well written and beautifully illustrated with a target audience of (based on the text & graphics) four to seven years old.  The book presents a concise argument for the reasons to prep and follows that up with simple, concrete steps to become better prepared.  However, the text includes references (in simplified terms) to pandemics, economic collapse, civil unrest, evacuation as well as...

Review of Going Home, A Novel of Survival

The publisher of Going Home, A Novel of Survival by A. American contacted me a couple of months ago and asked if I would be willing to review A. American’s debut novel.  The book had actually been on my wish list for a while so I jumped at the chance and they shipped over not just the first book, Going Home, but also the sequels Surviving Home and Escaping Home.  Unfortunately, the day job became a day, night and weekend job the past several months so I hadn’t been able to get around to reading Going Home.  I still couldn’t wait to read Going Home so prior to an extended car trip I purchased the newly available Audible version and started in.  While this was going to be a review of Going Home, I couldn’t wait to read the sequels so it’s really a review of the entire series to date. Going Home and its sequels follows the interrelated stories of Morgan Carter, Thad, Jessie, and Linus AKA ‘Sarge’ as they negotiate a world devastated by a Coronal Mass Ejection or Electro-Magnetic Pulse.  The story is expansive with a large cast of characters surrounding each of the main characters. Morgan Carter is the primary character and much of the story is told in the first person from Morgan’s point of view.  Morgan is a technology worker and dedicated prepper who is well prepared for the event and protecting his wife and three daughters but is caught off guard when the event occurs while he’s 250 miles from home. The novels switch seamlessly back and forth into the third person to tell the stories of Thad, Jessie and Linus.  Thad is a trucker with a family of his own.  He’s no prepper but does have an awareness of the need to prep and carries a few supplies in his truck just in case.  Jessie...

Dan Brown’s Inferno – A Review

I recently finished reading Dan Brown’s Inferno.  I almost always enjoy Brown’s novels (his misguided attempt at writing about signals intelligence in Digital Fortress was the sole exception).  I enjoy his blend of action, current events, history and fictional conspiracies.  I especially enjoy learning more about places I’ve visited and it makes me want to travel to see them once again. Don’t worry, no spoilers of note will appear in this article…I want you to enjoy this book as much as I did. I didn’t expect to be reviewing this book for these pages but the conspiracy in Inferno turned out to be a true ‘The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) event… biological terror plot of Earth shaking proportions. As with every Dan Brown novel he draws from current events as well as history.  In this case he sets up an adventure for Professor Robert Langdon, his protagonist from  The Lost Symbol, The Da Vinci Code, and Angels & Demons that draws inspiration from  a number of sources…most notably the Black Death Plague which reportedly cut the worlds population in half during the 14th century, current population growth models predicting a calamitous future as well as The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (free download for Kindle). The Black Plague was undoubtedly a TEOTWAWKI event and is described in some detail in the book but in broad descriptions…think about what it would have been like to live through…half of your family, half of your friends and acquaintances gone over a period of just a few years.  What would life be like if that were to happen today?  How would we maintain key infrastructure, knowledge and know-how and still see to the business of living…half the police gone, half the medical community gone, half the morticians, schoolteachers, firefighters, probate lawyers and trash collectors dead, too sick to come to work or to afraid to leave the...

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