Along the way, Chris meets Rita Luevano, a jaded Unitarian reverend who leads a motley horde fleeing to Monticello. Together with the remnants of a Marine battalion, Chris and Rita help establish communities of urban refugees in the Shenandoah Valley. They and the other lucky few who have escaped civilization's collapse learn the lost arts of subsistence agriculture, blacksmithing and archery in order to adapt to a world devoid of technology and instant gratification. Faced with the specter of starvation and death, Chris and Rita must face their own demons and conjure the dormant will to live even while pop tunes and TV commercials still ring fresh in their ears and they no longer have Wikipedia to give them the answers.
Not everything from the old world has perished. One corporate entity, a black ops military security corporation, weathered the collapse and seeks hostile takeovers of what the burgeoning communities have scraped together. Thrust out of their suburban malaise and into a gritty struggle for survival, a tenacious spirit awakens in the haunted souls of Chris and Rita who find their authentic selves at the end of civilization.
Scourge of an Agnostic God by Michael Juge is a refreshing twist on the post apocalyptic genre. No zombie apocalypse, no nuclear winter. The event causing the downfall is referred to as "The Shift." Since there is no major war to destroy all the buildings the focus of the book is on how the people react when order breaks down.
I found most of the characters enjoyable though at the beginning I was a bit hesitant about Chris. The book does have the gangs and lawlessness you would expect from a society that has absolutely no governing body and people who have access to firearms begin to take the power. Several communities are formed that band together to help each other survive through difficult times ahead.
This is a series that I will continue to follow.
Review copy provided by the author.