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12257984From Goodreads: Economic ruin and partisan rancor have pushed America to the brink of a new civil war. Esther is caught in the middle, serving as a page in the United States House of Representatives when rogue politicians and military leaders stage a modern day coup d’etat. When the coup turns violent, she abandons Washington, D.C. for home. She must learn to survive on her own as transportation and financial networks fail, as the war disrupts food and water supplies. The result is a cautionary tale about political extremism and the true cost of war.

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The fact that we live in the United States makes many of us feel rather safe.  We hear about the civil wars breaking out in other countries, and we read about what’s happening in Syria, we protest wars that many of us don’t fully understand… but what would we do if a civil war broke out in the United States?  We act like it won’t, can’t, shouldn’t, but the truth is, we never really know.  There are a lot of things that could go wrong in our country, and Payne’s novel looks at just what could happen if war were to break out on our soil once more.

This is a scary novel, not in the horror type of way, but in the fact that it’s eerily possibly.  Following the life of Esther as she becomes a page in D.C., we watch the world unfold and cave in on itself as a civil war breaks out, GPS, landlines, and internet capacities are turned off, and war strikes and kills many. Stuck in D.C., Esther must try to get home to the Orcas Islands, but that’s clear across the country, and her trip is not one of ease.  This is the kind of novel that rears up and kicks you in the chest as you read, dropping the unexpected on you and making you reel in horror for the characters.  There were multiple occasions as I read that I freaked out because Payne doesn’t hold back.  He doesn’t sugar coat the war, and bad things happen to good people, terrible, terrible things that I didn’t expect and then BAM, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  And I admire Payne for this.  His writing is great, the story is extremely interesting (not too political, thank god, because I don’t know politics at all), and it just sucked me in and kept me turning the pages as Esther comes across carnage after carnage in her trek home.  You’ve got to read this one.  Five stars.

5 stars

I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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