LeAnn Edmondson’s novel, Aftermath II, The Struggle for Independence, continues where Aftermath, A Story of Survival left off. Both are part of the Jimmy Walker series. Aftermath starts out with a virus knocking out all electronics, thereby announcing to the world that “IT” had already happened. Those who understood the implications of this were scrambling to make their way to safety. Leaving what he had called home, Jimmy Walker began an adventure that led him to become part of an established community where he met Amie and started a life with her. They are partners in every sense of the word and although Jimmy is the self-assigned leader of a splinter group, Amie is every bit as capable as he is. He trusts her completely and one of the things he seems to love about her is her independence and strong opinions.
There are no zombies in this apocalyptic novel, but there are those who, out of desperation, and perhaps greed, feed on the strengths of others. While I won’t go into specific details about the characters, I do want to say that this book really helped open my eyes to what we might really have to face in the event the grid goes down and we are on our own.
Here are just a few of the things that stood out to me.
- There is no more government.
- Law enforcement doesn’t exist.
- There are no taxes!
- There is no electricity.
- Paper books are invaluable.
- Instincts are important.
- You are only as valuable as your trade or skills.
- Know how to plant a garden.
- Don’t forget to stash a variety of seeds.
- You need to be able to communicate without a telephone.
- You need to have a place to bug out.
- You need to have food stored in that bug out retreat.
- Know how you will travel when you run out of fuel.
- Handguns and knives will be important, not only for defending yourself but for obtaining food.
- Know how to forage for edibles.
- Store appropriate clothing and bedding.
- You will need to cook by campfire. Forget charcoal because at some point you will run out.
- Have sturdy, appropriate shoes. More than one pair would really be nice.
- Have a supply of medications.
- Have a supply of OTC medications, like aspirin, allergy medicine.
- You’ll want a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store a light source but realize at some point you’ll go through all the batteries. Better to have something solar.
- Store supplies you can use for bartering.
- You need to use extreme caution when allowing anyone else in your inner circle. I can’t emphasize this enough. There’s more than one instance where the camp was very careful about who they let in and they were still betrayed.
- Don’t trust anyone.
Basically everything that you’re doing now will be changed. Most of what you’re doing right now will be unimportant. You won’t have a job and therefore, won’t have an income. While you may feel comfortable and cozy about the things you’ve done to prepare for loss of income or the forces of Mother Nature, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
LeAnn has managed to take something that’s very important for us to realize and woven it into a novel that is very enjoyable to read. You can’t help but get into the experiences of the characters without taking note of it yourself. I found myself taking a personal inventory of my own preparedness: What would I be able to contribute? Would I be valuable or expendable? How prepared am I to leave my property? Where would I go? How long would it take me to get out? The list of questions goes on and on.
The scenarios portrayed in Aftermath II certainly give me food for thought. Part of me hopes that I never have to experience a life without all of the conveniences, but there’s another part that yearns for that simple life of earlier times. I don’t necessarily want to hunt and forage for my food, but at least I would know what I was eating. I wouldn’t voluntarily give up my computer and virtual friends, but I think the world would be a better place if we spent more time developing deeper relationships with people who are in the same room with us. No taxes? No government? That doesn’t sound so bad to me right now. When you try to balance it all out, I’m just not sure that Jimmy Walker’s life is so unappealing.
Read the book. See what you think!