REVIEW: Total War (The Survivalist #1) by Jerry Ahern

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/ Apocalyptic, Pages: 218, Level: Easy

Book Description from Goodreads:

“For years John Rourke, ex-CIA Covert Operations Officer, weapons and personal survival expert had planned for just one thing.

Survival. For him and his family.

The emergency wilderness retreat had been found, fortified and supplied. Now the ultimate crisis was upon them: nuclear strike and Russian invasion.

With Rourke half a continent away from family and home.

And so began a desperate, epic journey to a home that might not even exist anymore, across an America shattered and burning, where murderous bands fought and killed. Killed for food, for clothing, weapons, and even from a sheer lawless lust for destruction.”

There is tension in the Middle East as the Russians begin to send in troops. Rourke is a man of many talents, special ops, medical training, survivalist, etc. Nuclear war seems imminent and he must find his way home to his family and move them to the retreat he has been stocking for years.

First, allow me to share how I came across these books. My library has a monthly used book sale. I don’t particularly like mass market paperbacks, but I noticed a bunch of these books and they looked interesting. I went ahead and got them all at the rate of 5 for $2. I figured if I didn’t like them, all I had wasted was a little bit of my time and about $5. When I got home, I looked them up and discovered I had the first 13 in the series. That alone I considered to be a score. Then came the time to read the first in the series and…

This book was so good! Don’t you love when that happens?

I’m not kidding. It sounds really cheesy, as a lot of the 80’s nuclear apocalyptic stories now seem to us- “Bringing this down was like playing Russian roulette with all chambers full.” This is like a cross between Rambo and Road Warrior.

The Survivalist series seems to be for men what the Harlequin romances were for women. For example, here is a list of weapons in Total War, the first in The Survivalist series:

H-K MP5SD3 integral silencer, collapsible stock 9-mm submachine guns (H-K SMG)
Heckler & Koch P2A1 flare pistol with 26.5-mm projectiles
Stainless steel Detonics .45 auto with rubber Pachmayr grip
Metalifed six-inch Colt Python .357, barrel Mag-Na-Ported, .22 Long Rifle conversion chambers with a barrel liner
7.62 mm SSG special rifle
Colt’s Government Model Mk IV/Series ’70, Caliber .45 ACP
Colt AR-15
Steyr-Manliccher bolt action rifle, 165-grain boat-tail soft-point
Sting IA boot knife
World War II vintage MP-40 submachine gun (Schmeisser)
Vintage Browning High Power, 9 mm

And that’s not even mentioning all the government organizations, secret mission titles, order titles, document titles, etc. There are a lot of ABC references all over the place. I don’t know what most of them even mean and when I look at that list of weapons above, all I see is “blahty blah blah blah.” I wonder if men get all warm and fuzzy when reading this kind of stuff. Anyway, in spite of that, it’s really good! Did I say that already? It deserves repeating.

Total War begins with the politics of it all, so it is likely a lot different than the rest of the series. And the book is told from many different points of view. Sometimes you get a point of view just once and others are regular. For example, it is interesting to get opposite perspectives from the President of the United States of America and the Russian premier.

For the ladies, there is one sex scene. Yay for the ladies.

And I want to share with you a part that really stuck out to me; it’s just one of my things. Have you ever read a book or entire series and wonder- Where did they poop? What happens when a woman has her period? Why didn’t they take toilet paper and pads with them? Etc. I may be in the minority here, but I always wonder things like this because books frequently disregard these facts of life details.

“As she passed the bathroom, she took a canvas bag from under the sink- an old U.S. mail bag- and began stuffing it with soap, tampons, toothpaste, bandaids, and disinfectant spray.”

Shortly after that, she tells her son to grab as much toilet paper as he can. Now that is good planning!

Yes it is a bit cheesy and far-fetched, but it is a really fun book to read. I definitely recommend it and look forward to reading the rest in the series.

Reviewed by Christina

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