After just having finished Book 1 of the series, I jumped in the next chapter of the “Last Stand”, aptly called Patriots.
The story takes place only three months after an EMP strike left Americans to fend for themselves in a fight for survival of the best equipped. The first book dealt with one of the worst doomsday scenarios – envisioning a world where there are no more computers, electronics or any of the gadgets that make our lives so easy.
The second book tackles a wider story arc – where John Mack and his family find their peaceful new existence shattered when a tyrant seizes control of the nearby town of Oneida.
Charles Augustus Morgan is a presidential envoy, sent to restore law and order to the area. But his first order of business is to demand the confiscation of all firearms from the local population. Morgan’s offer is as ugly as the man himself: disarm or die.
After having killed Tim – John’s neighbour and kidnapped their wives and kids, John is desperate to find out how to get them back and during the search for the culprits runs across a band of rebels who call themselves “Patriots”.
And the name is aptly applied as this group challenges Morgan’s position in office, his tale of the cancelled constitution and a president who is willing to assign just anyone as a mayor appearing paper thin. They can’t do anything about Morgan as long as he holds on to a Presidential Decree or risk treason.
This is where John’s wife comes into play. Strong-headed and skilled, she manages to block Morgan’s advances and (risking her own life), she grabs the papers from Morgan’s coat and stashes them in a mailbox where they are promptly retrieved by the rebels.
She is captured and tortured and stays strong until the madman brings in her daughter at which point she tells them everything they want to know but it’s too late. They want to make an example out of her so they plan on hanging her the next day.
I won’t spoil the ending too much but I think this book was way better than the first one. We have a coming of age story as the boys are forced to grow up and assume responsibility faster under strenuous circumstances. We have a strong female lead which knows how to take charge and John kinda falls into the background a little.
The “Patriots” bring some valid points to the table as well: in case of an emergency were all communication is cut out, disarming people is not the way to go. People need to have their guns in order to defend their property and their lives.
The dissolution of the constitution is also a sign of a failing state where individual rights no longer matter and it’s close to martial law.
I had to laugh a little when they found out that Morgan’s documents were forged by what looks a Nigerian Email Scammer with poor English skills. Didn’t they check the legality of the paper before giving him the Mayor’s position?
And Morgan being a Russian agent! (Not a massive spoiler but doh!)
The book was well paced, well written and with to-the-point dialogue, wasting no time on niceties like descriptions. There is a strong underlying argument about Article 2 of the constitution regarding Gun Ownership and I have a strong feeling that the author is member of the NRA.
3/5 (Dropped a point as it felt heavily inspired by The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor )