The After War

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Pub Date 30 Jun 2017 | Archive Date 15 Feb 2018


Two years have passed since humankind faced extinction ... 

Two cousins are leaving the protection of their underground bunker for the first time, after a cataclysmic war and unrelenting disease ravaged the earth.

On the other side of North America, a young survivalist is leaving the seclusion of his cabin deep in the woods, traveling with his aging canine companion, Winston.

For individual reasons, these men are traveling east, where the fragmented lives of a small number of survivors will soon be decided by the choices of a corrupt few. Although they are not yet aware, the strength that resides inside them will soon be tested, and destiny will call for their fates to be forever intertwined.

Two years have passed since humankind faced extinction ... 

Two cousins are leaving the protection of their underground bunker for the first time, after a cataclysmic war and unrelenting disease...

Advance Praise

 "Zenner's engrossing, brilliantly-written work -- which is reminiscent of The Stand -- follows main characters Brian, Steven, and Simon as they travel across the country to reunite with loved ones after a devastating illness wipes out most of the population. Their journeys are long, hard, and absorbing. The central theme of good versus evil permeates the story, as the main characters find themselves having to choose between the right thing to do and what they need to do to survive in this version of civilization. Character development is strong, the prose is top notch, and the plot sucks the reader in up to the last paragraph." -The Booklife Prize in Fiction, run by Publishers Weekly      
"A fierce post-apocalyptic story of war and loss, of nature's vengeance, of survival in the face of overwhelming odds." -Manhattan Book Reviews  
"When I was in high school, I had to read The Road for a book project; this book reminded me a lot of the overall feeling of The Road. However, I personally felt that Brandon Zenner did a much better job at character development ..." -Readers' Favorite Book Review
"Top Pick! 5 Stars (out of five): Freaking amazing. Any agent or publishing house that passed this one up made a big mistake. It was selected by our reviewer as a personal favorite. This is also a nomination for our Novel of the Year award." -Underground Book Reviews
 "Zenner's engrossing, brilliantly-written work -- which is reminiscent of The Stand -- follows main characters Brian, Steven, and Simon as they travel across the country to reunite with loved ones...

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Available Editions

ISBN 9780692907627
PRICE $2.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 51 members

Featured Reviews

I love when I dive into a book knowing little to nothing about it only to find myself deeply entangled in the story by the time I've finished.
If you want an endlessly entertaining and thought provoking read then I'd defintely recommend reading The Afer War by Brandon Zenner.

2 years after the earth was ravaged and ruined by a nuclear war and a widespread fatal disease, Steven and Brian are leaving the safety of their underground bunker for the first time.
Meanwhile, Simon and his faithful dog Winston are leaving the comfort of their secluded cabin in the woods.
Both groups are headed east in hopes of reuniting with family..or whatever is left of them.
Small groups of survivors litter their path along the journey. Some are more dangerous than others and many are desperate for resources.
Its a gripping novel about survival in a world where the line between good and evil begins to blur and the morally corrupt have all the advantage.

Things i loved about this book:
- Character development. All of the characters were very well written, even some of the supporting roles. Through the journey each main character seems to change--subtly at first, then by the end of the book they seems to have metamorphasized.
- The switching between different protagonist viewpoints and bringing two separate stories together seamlessly. The story was so well put together! It withheld the holes my nit picking brain wanted to poke in it, which made it all the more satisfying.
- The descriptive imagery was spot on and not over the top. I can't stand when a story is bogged down by too much descriptive language. Zenner added just the right amount that allows the reader to picture each scene vividly while not disruppting the plot line.
- Goin into this book I knew there would be people acting insane in a world with no rules and no accountability, but the protagonists were just downright evil. It gave me great joy to root for their demise and kept me on the edge of my seat with every despicable action they made.

It takes a few chapters to get a feel for all the characters, but once you do I'm sure you'll find yourself rooting for them as I did.
In part two it was a bit harder to focus on the shifting narrative due to the addition of more characters but with a little determination and re-reading a page or two I was able to comfortably continue.

I give this nove a 4.5/5. I'd highly recommend to lovers of sci-fi, dystopian novels, books in a post apocalyptic setting or anyone who loves a well thought out plot with a multitude of great characters.

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A thoughtful, indepth look at how an apocalypse would affect different types of people. I enjoyed the different ways people voted and the different systems they set up afterwards; often this kind of book only covers one or two types of society, so it was interesting to see more than that. It also wasn't too gruesome or gory.
Thank you for the chance to read it.

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This story was told from a few different points of perspective but the main character I enjoyed the most was Simon. Simon is a young man who longs to be in the wilderness and someday be a forest ranger. He is in survivalist training and about to graduate from school when he is called away to return home. He comes from an extremely wealthy family who explains to him that we are at war and that he is to go to his uncle's cabin in Nova Scotia and stay there for at least two years so that what is coming will have had time to pass. He leaves with his dog Winston and proceeds to live in isolation, meditating and becoming "one with nature".
The 2nd point of view is from two cousins, Brian and Steven, who have been living in a bunker for the past two years and who have also been told to wait 2 years and to go to a certain town to get their sister and cousin.
Simon heads back to his home only to find that his parents have died and that the town has been designated as the Blue Zone due to its water filtering facility and is run by the military. Brian makes it to his cousins and they proceed to what is now known as the red zone for its access to fuel.
The antagonist in this story is a evil militia style group that terrorizes anyone they come across and they manage to fool the blue zone into allowing them entry as additional reinforcements for their community.
I really enjoyed everything about the book except for the fact that it seemed way to obvious what the Red Hand militia was up to before they were officially invited to come in. I think Simon's character was very unusual as far as this type of book goes, he very much wanted to use non-violence to solve the problems and start the world back on the right foot. I found the fact that he became everything he was against near the end very surprising but quiet satisfying. Looking forward to the next book.

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If ever there was a book that I would love to see brought to TV or film, this would be it.

I was grabbed from the very beginning. When things started getting interesting with Simon, the story switched to Brian and Steven, and part of me screamed, "No!" Then, it would switch back to Simon when Brian and Steven found themselves in a pickle and I just had to keep on reading. It wasn't confusing the back and forth and instead added to the suspense. I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.

I think what I loved most was how all of the characters start out as a part of their own story and as they journey on, their paths cross and the multiple stories become one. It's not an easy task to melt storyline together seamlessly, but Zenner does it well.

I'm also a big fan of a book that emphasizes the bond between a man and his dog. I'm a sucker for pets, I'll admit it, and I was rooting for Simon and Winston to have their happy ending from the very beginning. The relationship between them was exactly what you would expect to find between a man and the dog he has had since a pup. It was wonderful and beautiful. Winston saved Simon in more ways than one.

I enjoyed the concept of this novel as well. The U.S. is at war and intelligence has been leaked that a deadly disease will follow the fighting. Because of this intelligence, some have prepared to hide and wait the 2 years needed fo the disease to die out. What follows the war is just as disastrous as the war itself. Mercenaries, cannibals, and criminals run free, but there is hope in sight because some members of the military have prepared to restore society to its former glory when the time comes.

Like I mentioned before, I hope this becomes a TV series or a movie one day. Chapter 63, the major battle between the band of mercenaries and the people of Alice, was AMAZING! Simon, the peaceful one, became a beast, killing men left and right to save Bethany and Winston. The fight was glorious and I'm not even a fan of action packed scenes.

I do have one complaint, though. Where are all the women???? In the Book of the Unnamed Midwife, there was disease that killed more women than men, but in The After War nothing like that was mentioned. Yet, there are very few women after the war and the disease. So, what happened? Is this some sort of jab that women wouldn't be able to survive a war on American soil or was the disease more devastating to women and I just missed that part?? Speaking from a female perspective (particularly a mother), I'm not exactly battle ready, but I would kill 1000 men if it kept my kids safe and I'm sure there are plenty of women out there who would agree with me here.

I'm glad this was both Part 1 and 2 because when I finished Part 1, I was dying for more. I enjoyed reading the "what if" scenario and following the characters through the aftermath. I loved how all of them end up a part of the same story and this one kept me on the edge of my seat, feverishly flipping pages to find out what happened next.

Great work Zenner!

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haven't read a post war/apocalyptic sort of book before but wow what a good book!
I'm not even sure what to say to give this book the credit that's due.. I just felt such strong emotions when reading it.. even at the start of the book the power behind the words is unreal!

.. I may have actually cried.. numerous times.. 🙄🙈💜

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This was a really well written story about a group of survivors on there way through a broken world. The individual stories of the characters is great and it gives enough back ground to make you feel for some characters and sympathize with what they are going through. It is a great ride from start to end seeing the starting points for them starting to merge as you get closer to the end.

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The After War tells the story of two cousins trying to survive in a world that's already dying. It has little left to offer in the way of hope: the society they once knew has been wiped out, their friends and families have passed away, and they're nearly strangers to themselves - secluded in an underground bunker for two years. It reads like a Justin Cronin novel with plenty of emotion and depth. The After War not only chronicles the fight of these hardy individuals but it also brims with intensity and sensation of an all-too-real apocalyptic telling.

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I really love how real this book feels - the characters are so realistic, each one different in personality than the others and the plot line feels like yes, this is definitely a possibility if this really did happen to the world. My favourites were definitely Simon and Winston and I'm so glad the author decided to add Winston in, as I don't feel the book would have been the same without him. The only reason I knocked a star off this book is for the fact that although I love the alternate points of view throughout, I didn't connect with Nick at all and therefore didn't feel as much emotion reading his parts in the novel. I don't know if this was purely because he wasn't one of the characters followed right from the start. The only one time I felt anything for him was the last scene he was in, and that was probably more emotion for his partner than him. Although he is an unlikeable character, I don't feel that's the reason I didn't connect, as Steven was unlikeable too, but there was still backstory and a part of his personality that kept you drawn to him.

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I should be banned from reading post-apocalyptic books. While I like them, they usually scare me half to death. I know one of the main reasons why is because when I read them, I usually think “Ok, well this could happen“. Then my imagination goes into overdrive and I end up having nightmares about the book. I do consider that a good thing (well not at the time but afterward). It shows that the author has gotten under my skin and made me think about what I was reading. The After War made me have nightmares. I kept dreaming that I was in Alice and the bad guys carried out the threat that they made to Simon in the cornfield.

The After War starts with Brian and Steven getting ready to emerge from their underground bunker. In the 2 years that they were underground, the world changed. There was a catastrophic war that was accompanied by a disease. Both of those killed off most of the people in America. Brian and Steven were sent to their underground bunker by their Uncle Al, a high-ranking general in the Army. Al knew what was coming and wanted to protect them. They had strict instructions while living in the bunker. The most important one being….do not let anyone in. The other one, they need to leave on or after the date marked off on their calendar. Not before because they could risk the disease still being around. After they leave, they need to find Steven’s sister, Bethany, and then find their way to Uncle Al. Which was easier said than done.

The second major plotline was Simon’s. Simon was the youngest son of a wealthy man. He was sent to Canada, to his parents secluded cabin in the woods, to avoid being drafted into the army. Simon wasn’t an ordinary young man, though. He was a survivalist and knew how to survive off the land and off the grid. Something his parents counted on when they sent him away. He decides to leave when he notices that more and more people were in the woods. So, along with Winston, his dog, he makes the trek back to his parents’ house. Simon is unprepared for what he encounters on the way to his parents’ house. What he sees and what he does changes his life forever. It makes him into the man he becomes in the second half of the book.

I liked Brian. He was the calmer of the duo and he was the one who could talk Steven out of his blind rages. He was cautious and it was him being cautious that saved his and Steven’s butts more than once. I did feel bad when he fought with Steven after the encounter at the house. But he was pushed to his limit because of Steven’s impulsiveness. The guilt he carried after that would have broken a normal man. But he worked through it and became a productive member of the new society. That is until he is called to do something that he never expected.

Steven drove me nuts. Put it this way, he wasn’t a bad guy but he made some pretty bad decisions. And he pulled Brian into those decisions. The fight between him and Brian I saw coming from a mile away. It doesn’t excuse Steven for believing when his saviors told him that Brian left him for dead. He did do the right thing in the end but it didn’t make up for everything he did in-between.

I fell a little in love with Simon. He was a very unconventional character. I liked how the author had him taking survival courses before being sent away. That set the course of his story for me. While hidden away, he lived off the land and he could have continued to do so if he hadn’t have been spooked. He was an asset to Alice when he finally made it there. So when the twist happened in his story, I was surprised. But it had to happen in order for him to meet up with Brian. That’s when I saw a different side of him and loved it!!

The bad guys in The After Wars were evil. I did think that I made a mistake when Karl met up with Nick towards the middle of the book. I thought that Karl wanted to help Alice. But when the depths of Karl’s evilness was revealed, I was surprised. Karl was a bad dude and he surrounded himself with bad dudes. But he also was an enigma and I do wish that more had been written about him. I would have loved to know if the serial killer rumors were true.

The way the book ended was fantastic. Everyone got their due, even Karl. With the author leaving the book on that note, my imagination went wild. All the storylines were wrapped up in a way that satisfied me very much as a reader.

The After Wars is a post-apocalyptic book that is true to its genre. The plots were fantastic. I had no issues believing that America was in a huge war and that a deadly disease was let loose. I loved the characters, good and evil, and thought that they were fleshed out. This is a book that I would read again and would recommend to everyone.

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age range: Adult

Why: Violence, language, and sexual situations. There is a scene of attempted rape. Also, a very gruesome scene where a couple of the main characters unknowingly eat a stew made up from human meat.

I would like to thank Brandon Zenner for allowing me to read and review The After Wars.

All opinions stated in this review of The After Wars are mine

I received no compensation for this review

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

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I couldn't put the book down. Loved the characters and found the plot to be so entrancing with enough action to keep the pages turning to see what would happen next that it was even hard put the book down. The book starts with a bang and doesn't let up. The author has an amazing imagination. The characters are well developed, realistic, complex and interwoven into a roller-coaster plot. One of the most addictive books I've read in years. The story grabbed me from the first page. Overall, I really really liked this book and recommend it highly, if you enjoy this genre.

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This book had EVERYTHING! From action to amazing story telling and crazy plot twists. I found that there were so many things similar to the show Supernatural in it. And as I love the show I loved the whole Hunter/ Demon situation. This book deserves so much more recognition!

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