One Year After – Book Review

One Year After is one of those all too rare books in modern science fiction: a sequel that is just as excellent and enjoyable as its predecessor. Written by William R. Forstchen, One Year After is the sequel to the wildly successful One Second After, his New York Times bestselling novel about the impact the deployment of an electromagnetic pulse weapon would have on the United States.

Once again returning to the small North Carolina college town of Black Mountain and the hero of the first novel, John Matherson, One Year After picks up, perhaps unsurprisingly, one year after the events of the first novel. The town is still struggling to re-establish itself after the terrifyingly destructive power of the EMP weapons deployed in the first book, with relatively limited success. Redeploying the electrical systems that were ruined in the attacks is no small chore, and local politics struggle to cope as town residents band together into their own individual cliques and factions, each with its own set of goals and self-justifications.

While things are tough enough to handle in such a small town, the world gets infinitely more complex when the nearby city of Ashville grows into a political and regional rival for power – both electrical and governmental. As the conflict between these two grows, it becomes clear that the Black Mountain residents must put their internal conflicts aside in order to fend off the facist authoritarian rule of the Ashvillians.

These two novels were such successful portrayals of the devastating impact of EMP weapons that they have been cited in the US Congress as tangible examples of how life might play out after such an attack, and many Pentagon military staffers have held the same view. No matter what you may think of his other work, it’s hard to deny how excellent a recommendation that is! Fans of the first novel won’t be disappointed, and new readers will soon come to love the characters just the same.

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