THE REMAINING: AFTERMATH by D. J. Molles (2012, Amazon Digital Services)
The Remaining: Aftermath continues where the previous Aftermath novel ended. Capt.Lee Harden, US Army, has finally rendezvoused with a group of survivors. Known as “Camp Ryder”, from the truck plant they occupy, they are few in number and led by an older man named Bus. But there is division in the ranks, notably from a faction allied with Jerry, who had been a successful businessman before The End Of The World As We Know It.
While Harden is recuperating, there is a massive attack on the compound from the Infected. Using his tactical knowledge, Capt. Harden is able to repel the invaders and save the camp. But a young woman loses her life in the attack. Furthermore, an examination of the perimeter fence shows it had been cut. The Infected were lured to the breach with a CD player quietly reading from Moby Dick.
As a newcomer, Harden is the source of suspicion. The only way he can regain the trust of the camp is to venture outside and find supplies. The novel revs into gear as Harden and a few volunteers go forth in search of food, medicine and whatever before the camp residents begin starving to death. The Infected are everywhere. As is the local meth-head warlord, Milo. And Milo may have a traitor on the inside of Camp Ryder.
As in the first novel, The Remaining: Aftermath is one action scene after another. Capt. Harden is either rescuing people or trying to escape from a trap. The feel of the book is relentless again: you can’t catch your breath in one scene because another attack is imminent. And, like the previous novel, there is plenty of technical detail about military hardware.
There’s some new characters. Notably, Father Jim, a gun-toting priest who takes care of the remains of his flock. Father Jim looks on Capt. Harden as some sort of divine avenger. He’s an interesting character and I hope we’ll see more of him as the series progresses.
Amongst all the explosions and bullets flying can be found this bit of insight:
This is a concept drilled into any soldier, from day one as a recruit. It is reinforced mentally and physically, officially and unofficially, through indoctrination and through the military subculture. Nothing you do as a recruit is right, even if you’re right. The instructors are always striving to achieve the sensation of failure, because it is imminent and inevitable that every soldier, every warrior will someday find themselves in a position where even their best efforts were not enough, and the greatest plan in the world still didn’t work out. That failure can bring out two things in a man: forfeit or fight.
A normal man forfeits, where a warrior fights.
And the Infected are starting to evolve. toward the beginning of the book, Harden is nearly trapped by a group of Infected working together. The Infected are starting to exhibit pack animal characteristics.
This is an intense series and I’m curious to see where the author will be taking it.
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