Rourke has reached his home in Georgia. He knows his wife and children are alive. Together with his friend Rubenstein they head out to his secret retreat in the mountains. There in his well stocked shelter the two can recuperate and resupply. Leaving Rubenstein to rest Rourke takes off to continue the search. While on the trail he meets Captain Reed from U.S.II in the area. He is looking for a NASA official who survived the war and would know about a mysterious launch prior to the war known only as the Eden Project. Both the U.S. II and the Soviets are anxious to find out what was launched into space.
Rourke just wants to find his family but is convinced by Reed that if he helps them Reed will use the growing resistance network to help locate his family. So its off to Soviet occupied Athens. There the group and the resistance members are captured with help from a traitor in the upper ranks of U.S. II.
Meanwhile Natalia is revealed to be married to Major Karamatsov. Karamatsov nearly beats his wife to death because of her betrayal down in Texas. Its also revealed that General Varakov is Natalia’s uncle. Varakov wants Karamatsov dead but his position in the KGB protects him. He instead arranges a deal with Rourke. He will free him and the captured resistance fighters in exchange for him killing Karamatsov. The two end up in a gun fight right out of the old west with Rourke triumphant. He then has to rescue the resistance fighters when the local commander reneges on Varakov’s deal and are too late to find the NASA official. He dies of a heart attack right after being found. Thus the Eden Project remains a mystery.
The third book starts to introduce the main themes to the series. Mainly its a quest to find his family. Also the Eden Project will play a key part in the future. The Soviets are shown in this series not as the cartoon villains that other series from this time usually portrayed them. Varakov is shown as an honorable man. His occupation policy is not very repressive and attempts to help the survivors. Soviets in Ahern’s books are usually characters that have personality. Some good and some bad but the Americans also have the same. Of course you need villains and the KGB usually does the heavy lifting in the bad guy department.
And finally we get to see Rourke’s man cave survivalist retreat. It has all the conveniences one would want after the apocalypse. Food, electricity, running water, books. movies and guns. Lots and lots of guns. All lovingly described in detail. There caliber, recoil, if their chrome or stainless steel. Ahern did know his guns. I’ve read a review that calls this gun porn and that an accurate description. God do I love this series.