A Novel of the Coming Collapse
James Wesley, Rawles

Hardcover/400 pages
ISBN: 978-1-439172803
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". . . drama is brief . . ."

I began reading James Wesley, Rawles’s novel, The Survivors, just as the “Occupy” movement gained momentum amid continued economic uncertainty. It’s a story of a fictional global economic collapse, filtered by Rawles’s experience as a former U.S. Army intelligence officer.

In his popular Internet blog, Rawles predicts a chaotic future with only the prepared surviving, and he practices what he preaches: He is stocked up with “lard” and “firearms” and lives out West in an undisclosed location. What does he know that the rest of us don’t?

Unfortunately, nothing. His parallel-themed novel fails to weave a credible plot around an unexplained global financial crisis, “The Crunch,” when planes are downed, ships docked, the euro and dollar are worthless and rioters torch and loot cities.

The story revolves around a few central characters. U.S. Army Capt. Andrew “Andy” Laine is just discharged from his Afghanistan tour of duty. Because he knows of the world’s madness, he prepares himself by illegally purchasing and smuggling a gun and ammunition. During his two-year journey home, in which he ultimately gallops on a horse from Belize to Bloomfield, New Mexico, he is forced to defend himself. He prays after he kills “looters” and tattooed skinheads: “Forgive me, Lord, for taking those lives … I pray they were saved.”

In a somewhat ridiculous backstory, Air Force pilot Major Ian Doyle falls in love with wealthy, Honduran-born Blanca, also a pilot. Five years later, married and in Buckeye, Arizona, they are also caught in “The Crunch.” Subsequently, they assemble twin ultra-light planes and fly to Arizona’s gated community where they provide security to wealthy homeowners. The main characters ultimately converge in battle against a powerful criminal gang, La Fuerza.

But Rawles’s “high-wire” drama is brief since most of the book dwells on excruciating details on guns and different chemical mixtures. Preparing for an upheaval is legitimate, but what is disturbing in the novel is the implication only well-armed Christians will survive. It is fortunate this book is fiction and that Rawles’ self-proclaimed Christian/conservative/Constitutionalist/libertarian visions are hopefully, a fantasy.

Reviewer: Kate Padilla