Review: Into the Guns by William C. Dietz

For many fans of post-apocalyptic books, it may seem like the trend leans more towards entering the world a few years or more after a disaster has already brought humanity to its knees. This type of shortcut does allow readers to bypass the feasibility of the world many authors stumble to create and jump right into the page turning action. But in the end, works with thin premises often leave a ton of questions unanswered and just as many readers unsatisfied.

Rest assured, Into the Guns by William C. Dietz is quite different than anything that resembles those books. Released on October 14, 2016 by ACE Books (Penguin Random House), it is the first novel in the new American Rising series. Taking readers into a dark future where today’s social and political indifferences in the face of adversity may bring an end to the United States, fans of military science fiction will have another strong series to look forward to.

Sixty meteors pepper planet earth in 2018; the earthquakes and tsunamis that soon follow do the initial damage. The knee-jerk reaction of China who believes the damage is the direct result of an attack, launches nuclear countermeasures that adds to the global devastation. The United States is left in total disarray as the upper echelon of the governing body has perished and the survivors struggle in this new world order.

Stepping into the disaster just as it happens, Dietz takes readers through the emotional rollercoaster the main characters face as their world crumbles around them, bringing a more intimate look at the crumbling cards of society. But on a closer look, we also get a better understanding of the choices the characters make, both good and bad.

First Lieutenant Robin “Mac” Macintyre finds herself cut off from the rest of the world at her military base near Tacoma, Washington. As news of the fall of civilization drifts in and her commanding officers fall around her, she is faced with the difficult decision to move out of the confines of the collapsing encampment. With no government backing or support, “Mac’s Marauders” soon become mercenaries, going rogue in order to survive as they search for safe haven.

Secretary of Energy Samuel T. Sloan is on a diplomatic trip in Tampico, Mexico, representing the United States in a solar energy deal when the meteors hit. As the presidential line of succession is swiftly whittled down, Sloan finds himself as the next in line as the Commander-in-Chief. Fighting against drug lords looking to get the upper hand and southern extremists intent on using his position to gain controlling leverage over the rest of the country, Sloan juggles with moral and political decisions as he tries to get back and save his beloved nation.

As states begin to splinter from the fractured government, a new Civil War is on the horizon. Sloan finds himself relying heavily on the intelligence and guts of Mac and her team. But with Mac’s father and sister playing a large role in the southern insurgence against the rest of the United States, politics once again pits family against family.

With an impressive list of successful military science fiction works to his credit, Dietz takes readers on a fast-paced journey. We see just how fragile society is in the face of adversity. In today’s political climate, this certainly opens one’s eyes on the wide expanse between political ideals within the borders of the United States and brings a lot more authenticity to a genre that usually borders on the absurd.

Into the Guns by William C. Dietz is a realistic look at a world gone wrong. With more installments of the American Rising series to come (Seek and Destroy is scheduled for release in June, 2017), the post-apocalypse certainly looks bright (from a literary standpoint) for the fan of the genre.

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