Book 2, This Shattered Land, from the Surviving the Dead series by James N. Cook brings us the reunion of Eric and Gabe. The second book in the series takes us to the planned for, and going as on track as one can hope for, life of two best friends living in an isolated cabin far from any other survivors.
It’s here that Eric and Gabe meet a small family who moved in to the area, intent on starting a new life in a new location. With plans themselves to leave the cabin for where civilization has remnants left, the entire group eventually makes the call that greener pastures exist where Eric and Gabe are going, and the plan to leave together is made. In book 1, there had been a bit much of overly describing firearms in great detail. book 2, this was toned down, but replaced with elaborate turn-by-turn descriptions of hand-to-hand combat, and mainly in the recently popular mixed martial arts. I have nothing against any martial art, as even if it’s usefulness is suspect, in theory it’s a form of exercise and should thereby help society at large combat obesity and the related illnesses of being overweight. For me, these elaborate descriptions of firearms and martial arts really slow the story down, but it’s the author’s book and I’m in no position to professionally gauge modern literature.
As the story progresses, we meet even more characters of various stripes, and new obstacles confront our main characters, and their friends. One of the main additions to this story overall is the introduction of the types of groups that would likely form in such post-apocalyptic conditions, and in this case, slavers. No longer bases solely on race, the author has brought us the notion of an organized society that allows slavery. Male slaves put to work on labor intensive projects, and female slaves put in to sexual slavery. This gets contrasted with other groups found in this book who are trying to maintain the previous way of life, and of course these groups clash.
Eric and Gabe are confronted with a new set of choices to do right along their travels, or keep to themselves and continue on their planned path. Book 2 shows us our main characters still side by side as usual, but does give them room to grow in the capacities a best friend simply can not help with. As for the major conflict in book 2, we find this taken from the pages of the Cold War, with large players using small conflict proxy wars. On the macro view, of course, its all Stratego and Risk, but for those involved in the heat of these conflicts, its their entire world crashing down on them.
Again, book 2 sets up what it to come in book 3, concluding some major events with questions left unanswered until the events in the next book repeat the process. For what its worth though, book 2 does give a great deal of new information that helps the next installment in its richness.