I’ve been kicking around an idea for a post-apocalyptic story where humans survive through cooperation and consensus rather than brutal anarchy (inspired by the nonfiction A Paradise Built in Hell). The plot would involve violent outsiders (think Mad Max) who come to prey on the peaceful heroes . . .
I was delighted to discover Meridel Newton had already written this story.
Hooray! Now I can focus on finishing my novel.
As our understanding of the setting expands, we discover the community has a central bunker-like building and some “outlier” homes. There are fields of grain and farm animals. Some individuals specialize in farming, others hunting, and still others the arts.
Violent outsiders do come to prey on our heroes--raiders looking to steal their food just as winter is setting in. But the community leader suggests a surprising solution that may (or may not) save her people.
I also found some of the characters stereotypical and a few plot resolutions a too tidy for my taste.
The character relationships give this book depth. There are conflicted factions within the community, and two teenagers have run away, inciting a “Romeo and Juliet” scenario. One teenager is from a powerful family hiding dark secrets, and the other from a newer family hoping for a fresh start. How the various family members deal with this situation, and the interaction between the community members and the raiders, makes for a fascinating read.