It should go without saying that James Wesley Rawles has had a significant impact on the prepper and survivalist community. His daily blog www.survivalblog.com draws over 84 thousand unique views each month from the US alone and the years of information contained in its pages have informed millions. In addition to his blog, Mr. Rawles is a busy speaker sharing his knowledge and experience as a former Army Intelligence officer at prepper conferences all over the US as well as a writer. He has written 5 books already and another title is in the works.
One of the very first books I read as I started getting into what has now been labeled as prepping was How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It. This book helped me foundationally start to look at some of the problems I was identifying in the world and how to plan to survive. Shortly after I read this book, I purchased Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse. I am not a fast reader by any stretch because my reading time is almost exclusively reserved for when I am ready for bed and want to get a chapter or two in before I crash.
Patriots was such an excellent book, and I just so happened to be on vacation that I finished it in a couple of days; in between seeing family and eating too much. I was so enthralled with the story of the Grays and their survival group in Idaho. I learned so much from this book and it captivated me with the portrayal of an economic collapse and the fallout from that event in the US. I have since reread it because in the realm of prepping this is great fiction right up there with Alas Babylon and One Second After.
I was approached by the publisher of Mr. Rawles latest novel Expatriates a few weeks ago to see if I was interested in reviewing this book as well so naturally I took them up on it and I just finished last night.
Expatriates, along with two other books, Survivors and Founders aren’t continuations of his original novel Patriots. All of the books in this series are told contemporaneously.
It is hard for me to separate this book from Patriots or Survivors since they are all about an economic collapse called “the crunch” but this novel is set in Australia and the Philippines primarily. There are a lot of characters and the story shows how several sets of people deal with the changing realities of life where the formal US government has been dissolved. If you are interested in reading about surviving on a boat or Nautical Survival, this book will offer you a lot of interesting scenarios.
Expatriates paints a different picture of a collapse than I have been considering but it is one that is probably more likely. Instead of something as dramatic and instantaneous as ‘collapse’ sounds, there is more of a slow slide into a different reality. The food isn’t gone the first day, people can still purchase fuel for a time and life goes on for years. His timeline approach for each of the areas allows his characters to live out the problems Mr. Rawles must envision if a similar future visits our shores.
The story is full of a lot of details about elements in the story unique to the location. From weapon specifications to mining operations and local customs, Expatriates weaves a story that tries to immerse the reader in the lives of each of the characters and finishes with a major confrontation and a satisfying ending. If you like prepper fiction then I am sure you will like Expatriates. Now that I finished this latest book, I want to go back and read Patriots again, but I have too many other books on my nightstand.