One Year After by William R. Forstchen

After, Book 2

Synopsis: The thrilling follow-up to the New York Times bestselling novel One Second After

Months before publication, William R. Forstchen’s One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read. Hundreds of thousands of people have read the tale. One Year After is the thrilling follow-up to that smash hit.

The story picks up a year after One Second After ends, two years since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States brought America to its knees. After suffering starvation, war, and countless deaths, the survivors of Black Mountain, North Carolina, are beginning to piece back together the technologies they had once taken for granted: electricity, radio communications, and medications. They cling to the hope that a new national government is finally emerging.

Then comes word that most of the young men and women of the community are to be drafted into an “Army of National Recovery” and sent to trouble spots hundreds of miles away.

When town administrator John Matherson protests the draft, he’s offered a deal: leave Black Mountain and enter national service, and the draft will be reduced. But the brutal suppression of a neighboring community under its new federal administrator and the troops accompanying him suggests that all is not as it should be with this burgeoning government.

Review: This book is the sequel of One Second After where we were able to follow the residents of Black Mountain who were trying to survive after the EMP (electromagnetic pulse, i.e. the explosion of a nuclear weapon in altitude, which had the effect of destroying all that is electric).

In One Year After, the story takes place one year after the end of One Second After and 2 years after the EMP. The people of Black Mountain managed to restore a semblance of normal life even if they do not actually eat their fill and have to take in account infections because there are no more drugs. However, they manage to develop certain basic pharmaceutical products which improves things. They have reconstructed a telephone line and start a project for electricity (thanks to paper books). They also have established a security team to defend the city against thieves.

When almost all the young men and women in the town receive a draft notice, wrote by the new government, they’re concerned and angered. These young people are forced to be incorporated into the national recovery army, to be sent to restore order to the country’s borders and to manage difficult places. People do not want to see the youngest risking their lives and their departure would also have consequences for the city: not enough people to ensure safety or to grow food.

The new government is in Bluemont, Virginia, it is locally represented by Dale Frederick in Asheville. He offers a deal to John Matherson, the administrator of Black Mountain: if he leaves the town and integrates the army, the draft will be reduced by a half. John must decide whether to endorse the legitimacy of the new government and the methods of the new administrator of Asheville Dale Frederick.

If you’ve read the first book, there is no hesitation to have, you will love this sequel. It’s not as impressive as the consequences of the loss of electricity in the first volume but still realistic. That is what struck me the most in these two books, I felt how this could be real. The author wanted his government to react by warning us of the catastrophic effects an EMP could have, I think he has reached his goal with his readers (for the government, I do not know). We need to wait for the third and final book that will conclude the story of the inhabitants of Black Mountain.


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