A gripping end-of-the-world (and after) thriller with heavy Christian overtones.
The second novel from Jones (Through the Fury to the Dawn, 2011) brings back his bitter young policeman, Kane Lorusso. In the first book, Lorusso and his wife and twin children survived the End War, a sudden combined military, social and environmental catastrophe in which "three-quarters of the world's population had been destroyed" ("it had taken just under forty-eight hours"). The survivors also included a massive professional athlete named Courtland and others. Not all who survived remained human, however; an "airborne concoction" called Chimera had transformed thousands into shambling, misshapen cannibal-creatures that the noninfected called Sicks. Even many of the noninfected were no better after bands of vicious marauders roamed the devastated landscape in search of slaves and plunder. One such band, the Coyotes, was led by a vicious would-be warlord named Malak, and in the previous book's rousing climax, Lorusso and his group defeated and seemed to kill Malak. This sequel takes up immediately afterward, when, unbeknown to Lorusso and crew (who are hunkered down in a heavily fortified Emergency Radio Control Station on the coast of South Carolina, regularly broadcasting calls for other survivors), Malak has been revived by a malevolent supernatural force intent on using him against the faithful among the End War's survivors. Those survivors are fervent Christians (one “desired to love and help her fellow human beings while sharing the gospel of Christ"), but they're also hardened realists who find themselves facing not only the Coyotes under Malak's leadership, but a suddenly organized attack by the Sicks in the book's tensely paced final chapters. There's a bit too much 2011-style slang (in one page we get "No worries," "I got this," and "it is what it is"). But Jones' well-designed future world—and especially his driving, infectious storytelling—may win over all but the most adamant skeptics. Fans of S. M. Stirling's Dies the Fire (2004) and its sequels are likely to see this as a fantastic new series to follow.
An intriguing and well-done Christian-fiction twist on the post-apocalyptic novel.