** spoiler alert ** Good speculative dystopian fiction contemplating the of sudden loss of oil and its impact on the world.
At first, reading it, I thought it was back in the first Gulf War when the guys were in Iraq/Kuwait and the oil wells had been set on fire, and burned forever, but as I read further into the story, I realized that no, this is in the future and terrorists have attacked wells the world over. The result is that society as we know it basically comes to a halt and as expected, the majority of people panic and go crazy. The ones with more evil in their hearts use the unrest and chaos as an excuse to loot, rape, kill and destroy with no one really maintaining order. The are a minority of sane people left (or that is the way it seems) who choose still to act like civilized humans and only kill if need be in self defense, and not because they enjoy it. Harry Miller, ex- soldier, becomes their leader, though not by his choice. Everyone in their group looks up to him, though, for strength, courage and wisdom, to decide what should courses of action should be, responses to threats, and eventually how to react to the deaths of those they have grown fond of. With a lesser leader and one given easily to anger, the group could have easily spiraled out of control, wanting revenge on others but Harry keeps a steady course, though at times it got difficult. It would be difficult to live in the circumstances the group had to-- shortages in basics, constant onslaught of violence and continually living in that "flight or fight" mode, and not having any hope anything will change anytime soon. It was good to see them in the end get some relief, but I don't think the end was a happy one. The government ended up monitoring everyone in a way that even a tally of how many cans of beans, rolls of toilet paper, bars of soap, etc. you used in a given month, because money was useless and everyone got vouchers for basics, like rations. So they basically had to trade peace for security. In my mind, with all that invasion of privacy, that was the lesser of two evils. It didn't make me like the book less, I just felt sad for the characters of the story. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author... thank you!
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