Founders by Wesley, Rawles

In the near future the dollar will collapse as the world’s reserve currency, then hyper inflation will set in, people won’t have enough money to buy food, goods, and then the United States government itself will be paralyzed and finally shut down. The chaos, death and destruction that will ensue will cause the death of millions (possibly hundreds of millions) of Americans and lead to the destruction of society as we know it. Then the survivalists will rule.

Founders
A Novel of the Coming Collapse
by James Wesley, Rawles
Atria
September 2012

In this book, the third in his novels of the coming collapse, we find dozens of characters dealing with the collapse and their response to the chaos and attempted takeover of the former United States by a band of United Nations backed hooligans.

It’s tough to say where this book starts. Every chapter is headed by a date that is either before or after the Crunch, Wesley, Rawles’ term for the collapse. And the story is not linear, which makes it extremely hard to follow. Unlike other post-apocalyptic stories told from the vantage point at the end of the story that follows multiple character perspectives, like World War Z and Robopocalypse, Founders jumps around so much that it doesn’t build to anything. Early on in the book (not in the time line) we find out that the UNPROFOR (United Nations Protection Force) fails to control the former United States and loses the battle with the militias. At that point in the story, we don’t even know much about that war so telling us who wins completely deflates the tension that should have built.

Character development is almost completely lacking. All the heroes are Christians (more on that later) and all of them have prepped for the apocalypse in advance or somehow pick it up and move from upset missionary father to the perfect assassin who kills people by stealth and stands out as one of the leaders of the militia. How did he gain these skills? The impetus to move from passive to aggressive is clearly defined and I won’t give it away. But just because you want to take action doesn’t mean you are capable of taking action or have the skills to do so.

This book is not about the characters or the story, but rather a vehicle to share the author’s knowledge of survivor training and military jargon. It is by and for survivalists and less for the average everyday reader who expects the story to go somewhere.

That said, I admit that I moved through this book rapidly and for the most part enjoyed reading it. Since this genre is a favorite of mine I found I could overlook the lack of depth and character development, the far Right Wing/ Libertarian views and glaring misuses of Christianity and go with the desire to see what happened. In that way, and that way alone, Wesley, Rawles is successful. In every other way, not so much.

If you are looking for a new book with a similar post-apocalyptic, survivor theme then go with the much better Cannibal Reign, Robopocalypse, or World War Z.

Wesley, Rawles is best known for his SurvivorBlog.com and his books on how to prep for and survive in a collapsed world. Previously, he wrote two books that are contemporary to this one, even though this is a sequel of sorts, which means that they all take place in the same world and story and even during the same time. Which makes a ton of sense since this book jumps around so much time-wise and character-wise that I can totally understand how his previous books left out large portions of the time line for many characters and would need additional books to flesh it out.

A final note about how Wesley, Rawles uses Christianity in the book: it is clear that the author has a favorable view of Christianity and probably practices a form of Baptist Christianity. I base this on the way he has his characters pray (thy, thee, etc) and the version of the Bible quoted (King James Version; not New KJV or other modern translations), and how he requires pretty much every character in the story to be a Christian. What is also clear is that he confuses Christianity with Nationalism and his personal perspectives on guns, retaliation, national pride and Constitutionalism. (For instance, after two characters – the most entertaining and interesting characters in the story by far – are ambushed and they lose their cars and supplies they escape only to turn around and take vengeance on the thieves – something that a Christian would not consider a priority at all. They were under no threat and there were no others in direct threat because of the group of thieves. This kind of retaliation and lethal action continues through the story and is considered by the characters to be a virtue.) I have a serious problem with my Christianity being used to justify these kinds of actions.


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.