What happens when a catastrophic pandemic kills more than one billion people and takes out much of the American population? Bushfire Plague Reckoning, the second book in the Bushfire Plague Trilogy, takes it from there.
by Leon Pantenburg
In the first book of the Bushfire Plague Trilogy by R.P Ruggiero, a mysterious virus wipes out a large chunk of the earth’s population. Main character Cooper Adams uncovers evidence that the plague was not a malevolent act of nature , but a calculated act of man. The man behind the plague lives in Portland, Oregon, and Adams kills him.
Then, Adams gets the info out about the plot, and life gets even worse.
This starts book two. Adams, a trained military veteran, is branded a terrorist and named Number One on the most-wanted list by no less than the President of the United States. You’d think the director of Homeland Security or the head of a law enforcement agency be in charge of this. But if you consider that Osama Bin Laden got similar billing from our president, maybe this isn’t that far-fetched.
Adams is betrayed by his neighbors and has to flee with his eleven-year-old son to a place of safety, which belongs to a fully-prepared prepper friend.
Along the way there are gunfights, food shortages, riots and all the components of post-apocalyptic fiction.
Adams and son retreat to a small town in rural Oregon to find that the local sheriff has become the local despot, along with his no-good son. They lead a group of strongarm police thugs who terrorize the town. The rest of the book deals with Adams leading the locals to freedom from the tyrannical local government.
The plot itself is not particularly unique, but from the readership the Bushfire series is getting, people like what they’re seeing. As fiction, Bushfire Plague Reckoning is a good clean read. You won’t see elaborate details of weapons and combat tactics or lists of things to have, and you won’t get bogged down in survivalist minutia. There are no lurid sex scenes and a minimal number of violent confrontations, so you can recommend this book to people from your church.
Though Reckoning is fiction, you still might learn something from it.
These aspects popped out at me:
Betrayal: Adams’ neighbors don’t rally around him as one of their own. Instead, they force him to leave his home and community. Is this a realistic scenario?
I think so. History shows us that a people’s primary concern, first and foremost, is security and stability. And countless tyrants have played on this. Just because people live near you doesn’t make them part of your community.
Rampant gang warfare: We already have that in our big cities with functioning law enforcement agencies. When the police quit working, it will get really bad. In Adams’ America, the gangs quickly evolve in feudal societies, with turf wars, soldiers for hire and battles for control of resources.
Who is going to take care of me? Every prepper gets this all the time: “When everything goes down, we’re just going to come over to your house.”
The reality is that nobody, even if they wanted to, could take care of all the unprepared people in the aftermath of a disaster. People somehow think they will be able to rely on the kindness of others or that the government will take care of them.
As Adams and son flee the city, they pass families and unprepared, dieing people. They can’t help and must continue on. It’s a grim reality check.
Store seeds: Unless people can start gardens or get crops in the ground, there will inevitably be food shortages and potential famines. Adams’ prepper friend has stored heirloom seeds and gardening tools, which allows the group to plant a garden and crops. This becomes a priority that is rightfully emphasized in the book.
Have barter stuff: Money becomes useless, and people either want precious metals or other useful goods. So trade goods will become very important in the whole preparedness scheme of the things. A trade fair/flea market quickly emerges in the small town, with barter as the way of doing business. The lesson here is to make sure you have skills or items other people will want or need.
Psychological problems: Because of the traumatic events they have to live through, Adams sees his son becoming more and more hard and cynical. Other people are also going wacko in other ways. This is a real possibility in the aftermath of any series of traumatic events.
As fiction, Brushfire Plague Reckoning is an entertaining book, with elements of a detective thriller. It is well-written and easy to follow the plot.
The value of this book is that it is a quick, entertaining read that might suck in the unprepared person, and get them thinking. If that becomes their first step toward preparedness, then that’s a good thing. Let’s hope Bushfire Plague Reckoning can help get that started.
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