I don’t wear combat boots anymore, but in my heart, I’m still a soldier. Perhaps that’s why I’m forever drawn to stories about ordinary people who, through heroic efforts, overcome impossible odds.
That’s exactly the kind of story I found in D. J. Molles’ series, The Remaining. I haven’t been this enthralled, this transported by a series of books since…EVER. I dare anyone, especially anyone who ever served in uniform, to read these books and not be affected by them.
Captain Lee Harden is one of forty-eight officers chosen by the U. S. government to save humanity from any apocalyptic event. Stationed in each of the continental states, the officers are provided with fortified homes, complete with a bunker, a military trained dog, weapons and enough supplies to get them through any disaster. Their mission is to survive whatever apocalyptic event occurs, gather any survivors they can win to their side and restore civilized society and government.
At the first sign of any coming disaster, the officers are ordered to their bunkers and to stay inside until otherwise instructed. If after thirty days they haven’t been given the signal to come out, they are to assume the apocalypse has occurred and that their mission has begun.
When Captain Harden comes out of his bunker a few days early, he faces far more than he ever imagined possible.
Sure, it’s a zombie story. But it’s only about ten percent zombie. The rest is about humanity and survival and all of the things that make humans some of the best and some of the worst life forms to populate the earth. Yes, there’s a bit of blood and gore, but no more than you would expect in a story about flesh-eating undead.
In my opinion this series has the trilogy of what makes for great story telling.
First, the pacing is breakneck, whiplash, holly crap, kind of stuff. If you’re one of those people who says…let me just finish this chapter before…you’ll find yourself pushing that envelope over and over. You just can’t put it down.
Second, you KNOW these people. You know this Captain and his determination against every obstacle imaginable, his fortitude to remain dedicated to finishing his mission. You know the people around him, the ones who will help him, the ones who will stand by and do nothing and the ones who will do everything in their power to stop him. Molles makes them all so real, so vivid that you’d swear they were people you’d met before.
And third, there are so many moments of greatness. Molles takes the time somehow between the abject fear, the shock of one event to the next, the struggle to survive that seems to grow more difficult over time; to give us prose and insights into life and survival against the worst odds. He’ll hit you with a few words or an observation that will literally floor you with its crystal clear rightness. Some of the stuff this guy writes makes you think he must have faced death before, he must know what it’s like to lose people close to him to write so poignantly about it.
It’s not just that he has crafted a fantastic premise, a great character and a fascinating story. All of that makes a book good. What makes these books great is that Molles can write his ass off.
The first book in this series was published in June of 2012. Molles is working on book five in the series now. I’m not sure why I hadn’t heard of the series before. It has almost a thousand, five star reviews on Amazon but it should be number one or at least in the top ten of the SciFy category. It must be that people just haven’t found them yet.
And finding a series like this is one of the reasons why I LOVE my Kindle. I read The Remaining in two days and finished it in the wee hours of the morning. I was able to immediately download the next book and it was like that for me, for a week—my nose forever buried in my Kindle, my housework, my own writing, totally forgotten. It’s that kind of series.
You need to find them. I have selfish reasons for writing this review. I want everyone to know how fantastic this series is so Molles will write more and more and more of it.
Later this month, I’ll have an interview with the young author and hopefully, I’ll get a tease of what book five will be about.