Aftermath is the second book of the Remaining Series and continues Capt. Lee Hardin’s mission to rebuild society after the apocalypse under Project Hometown, picking up right where the last book left off. If you enjoyed the previous book you will love the follow up due to the ramped up action, suspense, and a new diplomatic take on Lee’s journey as he struggles to find his place among increasingly skeptical survivors.
At the beginning of the story Lee finds himself at Camp Ryder nursing the wounds he gathered previously as he fled from Milo’s men. Milo, being the leader of the group of men who hunted Lee’s group in the first book and as it turns out has been terrorising many other groups of survivors in the area. Milo is presented as the main antagonist in the story, and earns his keep as leader of bandits by being cruel and violent towards those who don’t cooperate.
It isn’t log before the camp that’s sheltering Lee errupts with infected that results in the death of a young girl. The surivors notice that the attack by the infected was carried out using advanced hunting tactics that they had never observed from the infected before, and throughout the story the suggestion is made that the infected are learning and adapting to a world plagued by starvation. This is a welcome addition to the typical zombie-survival apocalypse story, since the stories told in other series outside of The Remaining usually find ways of mitigating risks imposed by the monsters, to the point that the stories devolve strictly into politics and drama between the survivors.
The camp also notices that the outer perimeter of the fence has been cut away, and that the infected were let into the camp. Since Lee is the latest survivor to enter the camp, blame is cast his direction. To improve his standing in the community Lee promises to retrieve supplies from a bunker despite his wounds, and he sets out with a few volunteers.
After Lee leaves the camp the book describes pure mayhem as they overcome the struggles of scarcity and the dangers presented by Milo’s group of marauding bandits. They lose people along the way, solve the mystery of the sabotaged fence, and make contact with other peaceful groups.
The most exciting parts of the book are the attacks from the infected as they group into even larger swarms and the uncertainty of survival from every encounter with them, followed by the victories had over Milo’s men. Despite the heroic efforts of the protagonists they remain uncelebratory as the progress made was paid with blood, and in the end the supplies gained from Lee’s GPS and stash of supplies would only go so far, especially considering that there are now more mouths than ever to feed after the suriving groups all merge at Camp Ryder.
The book ends with Lee and the leaders of Camp Ryder planning out their new strategies for survival, and a short break away from Lee’s group to describe the unfortunate end of another operative who would be Lee’s equivalent under Project Hometown.
This book leaves you with the urge to find out what happens next, and I can’t wait to pick up the next entry in the series.