One Second After is Bill Forstchen's depiction of life in America after a nuclear bomb was detonated 300 miles above the earth directly over the United States. The ensuing blast produced no fallout or shockwave, but the electromagnetic pulse destroyed every electrical device in the country -- from car engine ignitions to radios, as well as the entire electrical grid.
Forstchen writes about the land and work familiar to him as a professor of military history at Montreat College near Black Mountain, North Carolina. The main character is a retired U.S. Army colonel who teaches military history at that same college, a widower who cares for two daughters and continues to mourn the death of his wife four years previously. When the EMP suddenly changes life as he knows it, Colonel John Matherson helps organize the people of the valley to survive from the ravages of famine, disease, and a horde of looters known as The Posse.
The novel starts out slowly, but became a captivating read in the final one hundred pages. Much like Forstchen's Lost Regiment saga, One Second After is the story of men and women overcoming tremendous hardship and their own fears to stare down destructive forces of nature and man.
It is an intentionally political novel, designed to drive home to the reader the dangers of an EMP attack, which the book's forward and afterward warn is very real.
3.5 out of 5 stars.