Two years after futuristic electromagnetic pulse weapons linked to Iran and North Korea killed more than 80 percent of Americans, the survivors in a North Carolina town have more than marauding thieves, rationing, a lack of electricity, and other technological setbacks to cope with.
A shady new government poses an even graver threat. The people behind that self-appointed government have issued draft notices to all the young people in sleepy Black Mountain, including the daughter of determined town administrator John Matherson. They'll hold off on plans to conscript the 18-year-olds into the new Army of National Recovery if Matherson, widely admired for his success in rebuilding the town, agrees to join them as a major general and head of the draft board. That's an iffy proposition at best, considering the talk he's heard of the government scrapping the Constitution and using neutron bombs to put down rebellions like the one that will defeat the ANR in Chicago. With One Second After (2009), the first installment in this series; the novella Day of Wrath (2014), in which ISIS commits massacres in Maine and other peaceful American spots; and now this book, Forstchen has fully assumed the role of apocalyptic bell-ringer. His new effort has fun with the notion of an Edsel being a coveted object and dentistry that puts the pain back in probing. But once an un-American America rears its head, he has trouble getting out of the way of his patriotic agenda. And what with the British doing fine—the weapon meant for them took out Eastern Europe instead—you can't stop wondering why no one ever brings up the possibility of a U.K. vacation.
Fail Safe collides with Norman Rockwell in this fitfully entertaining novel about an America ripped apart at its seams.