With the opening scene of Ankara Fever: Journeys the reader is plunged into a crowded terminal at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport where passengers are quickly restricted in their movements. Roger Westover, a disaster expert who thinks up scenarios for the government and a professor when not so employed, is checking out a beautiful woman who is seated in the same terminal when disaster strikes. Things go from bad to worse, Prof Westover recognizes the steps being put into play – they are the exact same ones from the disaster playbook that he had prepared for the government in the event of just such a situation. Roger, along with the beautiful Jenny, become cohorts when he allows her to tag along on his break out of an airport that has been secured by government troops for the protection of the people who are now being restricted therein.
Back in Texas, we meet Corey who is Roger’s son. Corey is a ne’er-do-well student who lives to play his video games and becomes violently upset when the electricity is cut off and he can’t find food. He ventures beyond his dorm room to find that his entire world has changed. He is unprepared for what awaits him. His sometimes girlfriend, Ashley, who has taken Roger’s disaster preparedness class goes to find Corey who blames her for everything that is wrong in his life now that he can’t play his video games. She has learned her lessons and together she and Corey leave a deteriorating north Texas.
What follows are the separate journeys that each couple undertakes as they seek to stay alive in a post-pandemic world gone beserk and make their way towards a hidden community that Roger and some of his friends have put together in the depths of an almost primeval forest in the heartland of the U.S.
This story gripped me from the very first scene and had me emotionally involved with the characters. Not since The Stand by Stephen King have I so enjoyed a post-apocalyptic book. The characters are complex and well-drawn. The plot is full of twists and turns. The action is gripping with rich attention to detail.
There are typos that need attention but they in no way detract from the forward movement of the plot. While I understand that there will be a second volume to the story, the ending was a bit flat. Could have been a bit better set up for segue to the next volume.