I’ve been reading some longer science fiction (two Neal Stephenson books of late) and history (still working on A Distant Mirror) books recently, so for a change of pace I picked something light to burn through. I chose Tom Abraham’s Home, part one of a series of post-apocalyptic novels centered on Marcus Battle, a prepper who has isolated himself from the rest of the world for five years following a world-ravaging plague.
Marcus Battle’s story is survivalist fantasy with a side serving of gun porn. At first I was afraid the main character was going to be a fall-of-civilization superman who never missed what he shot at and a man with a superiority complex based on his Christian faith. Flashbacks of his departed wife show that she was along for the ride in his quest for a slice of land where he and his family could ride out the inevitable disaster facing humanity. His certainty and prescience are irritating. But soon the character reveals some chinks in his armor ranging from PTSD to other possible mental illnesses that I won’t reveal as to not spoil things.
Other characters are less well-rounded, such as his long-suffering wife Sylvia, and Lola, the woman he decides to save. These women are less-than-capable and need a man like Marcus around to help them. The wife is somewhat redeemed in my eyes in a later scene where she confronts Marcus on his attitude towards their survival, but this comes later in the book and isn’t enough to round out the character.
More interesting is one of the evil cartel’s grunts named Pico. The best tension in the book revolves around whether or not this slightly craven hired gun will navigate and survive his cartel bosses and his run-ins with the main character. He reminded me of a Peter Lorre character in so many hard-boiled detective movies.
This book has plenty of action, and this plays to Tom Abraham’s strengths as a writer. He knows his guns. The action sequences are terse and violent, with plenty of bang-bang-bang and pop-pop-pop. Onomatopeia is alive and well in the post-apocalyptic future.
Characters have names that, if I heard them described to me out of context, I would guess they were ironic in intent. The main character is named Battle. His dead son was named Wesson. Battle also names his weapons after movie characters. But all of this is quirky enough to be believable. If I’m isolated long enough I suppose I’ll name things I spend time with too. My computer doesn’t have a name yet though.
The world and how it came to fall is fleshed out enough to make it plausable, leaving me wanting to know more. The book is short and leaves plenty dangling for future installments of what is the Traveler series. I’m not certain if I will read more of them any time soon, but I know where to turn for a quick fix of post-apocalyptic action.