Set in the near future, this book describes an internal collapse of the United States scenario where hyperinflation triggers looting, rioting, and general lawlessness throughout the country. A group of survivalists meet up at the Idaho farm of the group’s leader to weather the storm and ultimately help revive the United States.
I know this book gets a lot of cachet amongst the gunbloggers and Heinleinists out there, but as a novel, it’s a little weak. Okay, it reads like someone explaining his Twilight: 2000. We get the history of the preceding years of the group, their training, a rundown of their individual skills (scores), the preparation to the home in complete detail, and then the party assembles. Various members show up and debrief with their exciting stories of escape, presented not as narrative nor as flashbacks but as people debriefing. Then other members with unique and desirable skills show up. Then a couple of things happen where they defend the compound. Then they get some missions outside the compound, and the characters equip–in lavish detail–and go on the mission. Then the missions become disjointed, and we get an end that probably is intended as homage to Atlas Shrugged.
I bought the extended version of the book, so I might have paid extra for more exposition, particularly the preparatory work at the beginning that would disengage a casual reader. The book is chock full of good survival ideas, but the narrative lacks in pretty fundamental areas. It’s readable, though, so I guess that’s a testament to Rawles’s writing ability.