Beginning in 1983, prolific author William W. Johnstone created the first of 35 installments in his Out of the Ashes series of post-apocalyptic men's action-adventure novels. The eponymous debut introduced hero Ben Raines and his resistance to a socialist regime in the wake of a devastating nuclear war. One year after the debut, Zebra published the subsequent entry titled Fire in the Ashes.
After Ben's downfall at the end of the series debut, the country has become an enslaved population under an ultra left-winged police state. Two mercenaries, Cody and Lowry, are sodomizing, gang raping and torturing any resistance. The author spends a great deal of time describing graphic, grotesque torture sequences involving Ben's girlfriend, a reporter and her young daughter. In fact, nearly the first 350-pages of the novel is Ben roaming the countryside while sex torture permeates the nation. Weird.
Without ruining the story, the government's military eventually starts backing Ben and the resistance which leads to the inevitable nomination of Ben Raines as the new President. Once a plague reduces the nation's population, the dead corpses attract armies of rats. There's also gigantic mutant boys...like the mutated six-year old that Ben is forced to fight in the book's disappointing finale.
Look, the post-apocalypse fiction of the 80s and 90s comes in all shapes and sizes. There's something for everyone. Out of the Ashes, based on my two experiences, isn't anything remotely interesting or engaging for readers to explore. If you like the political intrigue and pawn maneuvering that doomsday provokes, then by all means this book, and series, might excite you. I've never had any desire to pursue any other books in the series.
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