This high stakes, high death count sequel picks up right where The Apostates (Apostates, #1) left off, but with the tighter writing of the prequel novella, New Megiddo Rising (Apostates, #0). The series is recommended.
In the prequel, most of the major character back stories start to emerge, as does the foundation of the fundamentalist theocracy, New Megiddo, that supplants the US of A after World War III, a Holy War in which Russia and New Megiddo battle West Europa, the Northern African Alliance and China. China acquires Alaska and Hawaii, Chicago is nuked, and the most of the rest of the continental US metropolises descend into slum status.
In Apostates, the branded enemies of the State rise up to stop New Megiddo’s plans to create a man-made Second Coming, nuclear-based. The apostates must also fight against the sadistic neo-Catholic friars of The Societatum Pentagram that have subjugated Central America. The ensuing civil war ends New Megiddo.
The power vacuum created at the end of Apostates fills this sequel with many players looking for the upper hand in the New America. Greta, the former apostate leader and new mother, finds diplomatic courtship at the hands of both French and North African leaders wanting to create a puppet state. She eschews both offers and returns to America, potentially to take up a leadership role in a new government. Meanwhile, China has moved into the Pacific Northwest from their Alaskan Territory to make new potential claims. The rebuilt and brutal Societatum Pentagram has conquered Mexico and moved into Texas as they burn and crucify their path to the old capital of New Megiddo City / Washington DC. Remnants of New Megiddo loyalists still fight battles across the landmass. And some entity has hijacked the neural net that speaks to the loyalists, turning them all into potential jihadists.
For many of the main characters, this book is about delving into their own past and family. Former apostate leader Consuela, also a former Pentagram Friar, returns to Jamaica and Central America to find the family she was forced to abandon hoping that the Society would let them be. Former apostate leader and orphan, Evan, delves into his own mysterious past. Unlike the previous installments of the stories in which his homosexuality made him an outcast, his sexuality is not hinted at here. Rather, the racially rife history of America fills his story as he learns of the abuse of his Black Action family, also cultist in nature, that seems to lead to his orphaned state. This plot is not resolved. Finally, Craig, Evan’s mentor, confronts his own past in which he fought the Chinese in Alaska for New Megiddo before becoming a POW.
Expect another sequel to resolve the lack of government and the world politics. Evan, Consuela, Greta, and new-ish character Simon, surviving grandson of the New Megiddo president, all need resolution to their personal stories, too. I received my copy of this novel directly from the author through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com.
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