Review: “One Year After” by William R. Forstchen

One Year After: A John Matherson Novel by William R. Forstchen. Forge Books. 448 pages.

As I mentioned in the last book review I posted here, I’ve been on a run of bad books lately, and had a hard time finding books that kept me interested. That’s lasted for a couple of months, and I wondered if I would ever find one that caught my interest again.

Enter William R. Forstchen. I read his book One Second After some time ago, about an EMP attack that paralyzes the United States and specifically a small college town in North Carolina. It’s told from the perspective of John Matherson, a retired Army colonel who now teaches history at a small college. He is forced to pull the community together to survive and fight to get through their first year without any kind of electricity or help from outside.

The book I’m reviewing today, One Year After, takes place a year after the final battle in the first book and two years after the EMP event that changed everything. China has taken over the western United States, and Mexico has invaded southern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In the meantime small communities are forced to fend for themselves against bands of reivers, cutthroat gangs that attack, rape, pillage and steal. A provisional government of the United States, located in Virginia, sends out a message that every able-bodied person age 18 and above is being drafted to serve in the military and fight off not only the Chinese and Mexicans but marauding bands throughout the surviving cities. Will the small surviving cities send off the only defense they have to who knows where and leave themselves defenseless?

This is a really good book, and I was pleased to see myself reading it nonstop for about three days straight. It has the right balance of characterization, realism, action and suspense, plus it gives just enough explanation of the situation that you don’t get lost with what’s happening without feeling bogged down in too much exposition.

William Forstchen has been writing this kind of book for many years, and I’ve been a fan for at least 20 of those years. I highly recommend this book. It’s the second book of a trilogy, and I’ve already ordered the third book.

I give it five stars out of five.