The Raven's Gift

In a post-apocalyptic world, how would you react? Would you do just about anything to survive? Would you have hope? Or would you give in to despair as the world sinks into chaos and anarchy?

Don Rearden’s first novel explores this idea from the point of view of John Morgan, a young, once idealistic schoolteacher. He and his wife Anna moved to a tiny, remote village in northern Alaska, prepared for hardship, adventure and new experiences. But the village is overtaken by a virulent fever which speeds through the community, leaving many dead in its wake. Cut off from the rest of the world and finally realizing that the cavalry is not on its way, John eventually flees, in hopes of finding help or even anyone else alive.

We follow John’s journey in the present and through flashbacks. We see him as the idealist in a loving relationship with his wife, and also as a cynic with many questions. How did the virus reach this isolated community? How did it start? Was it a natural occurrence or was it a government experiment? Why is no one coming to help? Are they all dead, or is this part of the experiment—to see if an isolated community could survive such a devastating situation, and how resourceful they would be.

John’s story is totally engrossing. It is a fast-paced examination of a catastrophe that is all the more chilling to contemplate as we see how such a disaster could actually happen. Much food for thought here, but despite all, we are not left in total despair. A very strong first novel from Mr. Rearden.

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