Friday, July 13, 2018

Book Review: 'Citadel (Forever Free Book 4)' by Eric Meyer

UK author Eric Meyer comes to this series FOREVER FREE of which Citadel is Book 4 with an extensive background in the military as a member of the Commandos, the Royal Marines Reserve, participating in sensitive missions and becoming an instructor in assignments with Special Forces. A graduate of University College, Cardiff majoring in politics he pursued a career as an independent coach and consultant, working with blue chip and other organizations, and as a motivational coach, he ‘drew heavily on his military experience to give his clients the tools required for tools for leadership and initiative. Tools that are the mark of the small unit commander.’ His books included self-help titles as well as military and detective thrillers. Currently in addition to writing he is researching the Afghanistan war.

Eric’s very short book makes an impact because of its brevity – a book about the Armageddon of the United States and a fine admixture of military and politics as is evident in the opening page – ‘Life was a daily battle, and they were losing the battle. A devastated people in a devastated land, after a mysterious power outage triggered the shutdown of everything they relied on to live. Everything they’d built their lives around. An outage that ushered in the battle for survival. America, a shining beacon of civilization, reduced to little more than primitive barbarism after the power outage prompted the failure of the computers that controlled everything. Electricity, communications, water supplies, and of course the sophisticated communications systems that were the envy of the world. Internet, telephones, both landline and cellular. Satellites failed and fell from space, gas stations closed as the oil stopped pumping, and the most advanced nation in the world collapsed within days. Oz Porter, former Marine sniper, was hunting for game, a task that had become more and more difficult. Animals had become scarce, and no one knew the reason why. With the countryside returning to nature, game should be more plentiful, except it wasn't. They were all hungry, exiled to a remote lodge at the side of a lake, and even the fish had all but disappeared. Now they had a chance to take back some food. They were on the trail of a deer, he and Kelsey Chandler, two people as different as it was possible to be. He was almost thirty years of age. Lean, like most survivors, and fit, as a consequence of several years battling to help his family survive. Of average height at five feet seven, and apart from his green eyes, he considered himself an Average Joe. Even so, his face bore several scars that attested to his struggles. His hair was the color of old straw, and his nose was broken several years ago when he’d fought and lost a street fight. But that was Oz Porter. A fighter. And a survivor. Kelsey Chandler was still a teenager, a pretty girl, slim and lithe. All traces of her youth had vanished over the past months, and a second look would show hard muscle from constant physical exertion. Her blue eyes were like chips of ice, and she kept her blonde hair permanently dyed dark brunette, using plants and herbs, to make her more invisible when she hunted. She hunted game. And men. After a pampered upbringing she’d become a tough, hardened fighter, with several scars to prove it. She’d killed her share of Raiders, the terrifying enemy who came out of nowhere, seized their
victims, and carried them off to a gruesome fate. Then there was Omega, the shadowy organization that assumed responsibility for law and order after the disaster. Except their intention was something different. Under the guise of maintaining order, they systematically stole supplies and imprisoned those who raised any objections.’

Eric’s plot synopsis completes the image – ‘What caused the disaster? In order to survive, and return their lives to normality, they must find what caused the disaster, and discover a solution. A way to get the power on, water running in the pipes and the telephones ringing. A distant fortified complex, once the headquarters of NSA, promises to provide answers. Fort Meade in Maryland, known as The Citadel seems impossible to breach, yet somehow, they must get inside. When the government falls, who governs the nation? The problems in reaching it are immense. Their adversaries are everywhere, roaming the countryside, searching for victims and loot. Omega, who laid claim to the task of maintaining law and order as a shallow pretext for theft and murder. Raiders, the cannibals who prey on human flesh. And inside The Citadel, the unknown dangers of those men who claim to be the legitimate successors of Congress, the Senate and even the President himself.

A short book that carries a powerful punch, Eric’s book reads like machine gun fire. Grady Harp, June 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.