This series-opening speculative novel depicts a future where wealthy, progressive America has fallen and New Megiddo has risen from its ashes. Cities from Annapolis to San Francisco are largely slums and ruins. All of the wealth is in the hands of the theocratic government that is as controlling and hypocritical as George Orwell‘s 1984. I especially enjoy the homage in using Orwellian acronyms for government organizations: HOVEL (orphanages), LOVE (police state regulators) etc. The prequel novella, New Megiddo Rising (Apostates, #0) which I thoroughly enjoyed, introduced the backstory of many key characters in this civil war novel. The theocratic nation is under fire from within its ranks and from its self-branded enemies–the Apostates.
The dynamic plot juggles the various POVs and battling ideologies with epic land and sea battles and crafty subterfuge. Every pact teeters on the brink of crumbling.
Less clear is the inclusion of many scenes dating back centuries to WWII. The historic characters, nearly all ancestors of the current era characters, meet and interact in ironic and telling ways. However, they have no hand in the grand plot of the current era.
Unfortunately, rough-to-absent editing detracts from the story critically. This includes malapropisms [usually loosely homophonic in nature], misused apostrophes and quotation marks, word elisions and repetitions, and unclear voicing. Stilted, repetitive dialogue is rife, as is seemingly out-of-character actions and lines. Finally, there is an odd choice to include some dialog in Spanish and then have to translate it–including the Spanish is contextually unnecessary. And inconsistent, as some Spanish language scenes do not receive this treatment, and no Japanese language scenes receive this treatment.
Overall, the story–plot and characters–are good if not better than good. However, dialog and basic editing sit at a rather low level. Based on my enjoyment of the prequel novella written after this novel, I have higher hopes for the sequel, The Apostates: Remnants (Apostates, #2).