Agatha Christie meets Louis L’Amour in this western mystery.
When Morgan James left McKeon, Texas, ahead of a necktie party, he had no idea that he was stepping right out of one frying pan and into another.
Whether he’s in the fire or not he won’t know until he discovers who the murderer is, or even who that body belonged to.
What if an inventor, say an Edison or a Leonardo—instead of sixty—had eight hundred years to invent? What if the antediluvian world were not made up of hunter-gatherers and the beginnings of an agrarian society, but of spacefarers and scientists?
And what if it were into a world like that that God spoke to tell one of the preeminent scientists of the day to build an ark of wood?
Siblings Josh and Claire were out with a detail of locals trying to replant the Selkirk area following the previous summer’s fire when the ash hit. They had seen a lot of ash, but not like this. This was a wall two miles high that swept through and buried everything. Everything.
Some said it had to be the result of a volcanic eruption. As far as anyone can tell, the two-score people who have made their way to the valley are the last people left alive in the world. Everyone is trying to survive, but Josh is determined to thrive.
What if history didn’t happen that way the first time? Reclusive Soviet scientist Garison Fitch’s experiment with interdimensional travel landed him in 1744. There he met and fell in love with Sarah, a beautiful but outcast young woman. They married and had three children and he decided to stay in the past. When he tried to rid himself of his time machine by sending it into the future, it took him with it. Now, he finds himself back in the twenty-first century where a woman (Heather) he has never met claims to be his wife and the country he grew up in is gone, replaced by something called “The United States of America”. Should he live in this new world, or try to return the world to “normal”? As he becomes convinced he can’t return to Sarah, he’s not really sure if he can live in this new world he created, either.
Josh Overstreet and his sister Claire have been carving a life out of the ash for more than half a decade, unsure whether anyone yet lives outside the small valley where they have established their town of Overstreet with two dozen others.
Then Deanna Pembleton stumbles into the valley, asking for help for herself and her friends. Claiming they have eked out a life much like that of the people of Overstreet, she begs assistance, which Josh is willing to give. She is, however, clearly unhinged on some level. Could the people she is claiming to want to help just be figments of her imagination?
Jerry was just a college kid trying to catch one more weekend of fun before senior year when the ash hit. His college, his home town, his family—all wiped out in the blink of an eye. With the nation teetering on the edge of ruin, he joins the military to help with the search and rescue but finds that the powers that be want to use this natural disaster as cover for an unnatural war. The last war. Winner take all that’s left.
In the satellite photos, though, he sees evidence that the lands where he grew up might still have some green grass. With no idea whether anyone still lives there, Jerry dreams of someday returning to those pastures, even if it means living there all alone.
Meanwhile, Josh, Adaline, Claire and the rest of the denizens of the last valley have built a thriving community—and even have contact with another community across the mountains. But a disease is sweeping through Overstreet, one that could wipe them all out. Twenty years before, the cure would have been easy to affect, but now, their isolation may be their doom.
They can only pray for a miracle.
Sample text …We were above ten thousand feet and the black, roiling wall that rushed toward us was that tall again, it appeared. Some said later it was a grey wall, but the sun had just begun a-westering and backlit the whole thing, making it appear black to me. Whatever color, it soon bathed us all in its dark shadow, and then it bathed us in darkness itself. A darkness you could literally taste, for it coated our tongues and nostrils and, it seemed to me, rapidly filled the lungs.
It was ash.
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An EMP knocks out all the power in North America. As people are scrambling to get generators (or anything else) running, they begin to hear rumors. Nuclear war. Chaos. What about the President? Is she alive or did she die in the disaster?
Mary Orsen discovers that her ability to travel through time was not affected by the EMP. She has the power and the ability to go back in time and prevent the war. But she also knows that she’ll only make things worse if she doesn’t go back and change what really started it. Was it the EMP, or had it actually begun before that?
Mary consults with men who have traveled through time before: Bat Garrett and Garison Fitch. They are old now and can, however, only give advice. If the world is going to be saved, there can only be one TimeKeeper.
And Mary’s pretty sure she’s not it.
After having been swallowed by (of course) a dragon, Burt, Raylynn and Smitty find themselves in Haskell, Texas. It’s not quite the Haskell Burt grew up in, though, for people from forty years ago are walking around beside people that were only born recently. Buildings from the past stand next to buildings from the present day.