William Forstchen doesn’t disappoint with One Year After, the follow-up to One Second After. The first book showed us the dangers of an EMP attack on our economy and our way of life through the eyes of John Matherson and the residents of Black Mountain, North Carolina. One Year After picks up, as indicated by the title, a year after the conclusion of events in the first book.
The residents of Black Mountain are still picking up the pieces, but life is settling into a semblance of new normality and everyone hopes the worst times are behind them. The action in this book begins with draft notices being sent to a good portion of the town’s young population by a new central government and enforced by a new district administrator in neighboring Asheville. Pockets of resistance and lawlessness exist in major urban centers of the former United States and foreign occupation to the west and the south add urgency to the situation. Matheson is offered a commission in the new army and must decide how much he trusts this new administrator and the legitimacy, motives and methods of the new central government.
Forstchen excels at creating an inviting small town atmosphere with its typical triumphs and rivalries, as well as the ability to come together and sacrifice for the common good. While One Second After portrayed our vulnerability to an EMP attack and the devastating and far-reaching impact of losing our electronic infrastructure, this book highlights the difficulty in recovering from having our way of life set back 100 years or more. Forstchen’s knowledge of early machines and the difficulty of rebuilding infrastructure with materials on hand lends realism to the novel. Likewise, his knowledge of military tactics provide excitement to the battle scenes.
Matheson must decide the danger represented by either following the orders of the new government or disobeying them. He must weigh what is best for his family, his community and his country, knowing that whatever decision he makes comes with a death toll.
Fans of the first book will love this follow-up and look forward to what comes next. This is a quick and exciting read. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.