The Big Idea: John Barnes
Posted on September 5, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 29 Comments
It’s a lot, to contemplate the end of civilization as we know it. John Barnes knows this for truth, as he’s been ending the world over the three books of the “Daybreak” series, of which The Last President is the latest. But the end of civilization isn’t just an event — it’s a process. Barnes explains below.
I’m not a linear guy, as I often explain, and as both my fans and detractors frequently remark. I like books to be everything and the kitchen sink and a bag of chips with a moonwalking bear, Thomas Edison, a levitating lawnmower, and a roller derby on Saturn’s rings thrown in. Big sprawls of chaos are what I like to read and what I like to write, and I make no apologies for it, because they’d be exactly the sort of lame apologies our esteemed host warns us about.
Readers of my blog know I like to set up seven slightly related ideas and riff on them till it adds up to something, so here are seven big ideas/speculations/musings that have had a good, fun run (well, I had fun anyway) in the Daybreak Trilogy, and that are prominent somewhere or somehow in The Last President.
1. Rome didn’t fall, it slid. The disastrous end of a civilization takes time: time during which people fall in love or out of it, make babies or create new identities, grow up or refuse to, hope that the old order will return or come to realize it won’t. From the Daybreak Event that begins Directive 51 to the end of The Last President is about two years. Out of almost eight billion people alive on October 27, 2024, around 250 million are still moving around in the fall of 2026. That’s a pretty fast slide, but it still happens a day at a time, and individual people still try to stay alive, and make it, or don’t, and find new things to do with their lives.
2. The constitutional thriller. This is a nearly extinct genre but I used to love them, and long ago such books as Advise and Consent, Seven Days in May, and The President’s Plane is Missing hit bestseller lists. I would guess that readers outside the US are barely aware of the genre (since the American obsession with our constitution seems to puzzle the world). A constitutional thriller is about the maneuvers and infighting when one of the many contradictions or little-used provisions of the Constitution suddenly manifests itself. I saw a way that the contradiction between Article II (powers of the executive) and Amendment 25 (succession to the presidency) could lead to a whirlwind of one president after another (four of them in four months) eventually ending up with two (or more) legitimate but unelected claimants to the office (and rival governments formed around them).
3. The title. I mean, The Last President. Someday someone will be the last person to hold the office. Possibly next year when Yellowstone goes off so savagely that the few survivors from North America are scattered over the earth as refugees. Probably not nearly as long as it will take changes in the sun to move Earth out of the habitable zone. But just as there was a last Roman Emperor and a last Caliph and a last Inca Emperor, the day will come when there was a POTUS yesterday, there isn’t a POTUS today, and there will never be a POTUS again.
4. Maybe self-replicating nanotech will go down the same pathway as nukes. It took a wartime emergency and an astonishing amount of effort and money to make a nuclear reaction do anything useful, and the first use was as a weapon. Only years afterward did we have reactors that could propel ships and make electricity. The technical challenges were simpler and the purpose more urgent for war than they were for peaceful applications. It seems to me that self-replicating nanotech has much the same technical and cost profile: getting nanobots to work together to synthesize an object, and at the same time to make more of themselves, looks very hard to me. But nanos that destroy things by reproducing around them? Comparatively duck soup. In the real world I don’t think weaponized self-replicating nanos will bring on the apocalypse (though I would not rule it out) but for a trilogy, it was more than seven billion high-piled corpses worth of fun.
5. The Cunning of History. That book, by Richard L. Rubenstein, contains some of the most sobering ideas I’ve ever encountered. Calmly and clearly, he points out that most people alive today are beneficiaries of something absolutely hideous in the past. His particular example was that the Holocaust made the postwar world much less complicated for most of the leadership of the Allies, so that they had a strong incentive to denounce it after the war when it was publicly confirmed, but not do very much to stop it while it was happening during the war. He connects this to many more cases along the way. In the long tale of the world most of us are the recipients of stolen goods and the fruits of murder, just by happening to be alive after they happened, and atrocities cannot be undone later.
And so, Richard L. Rubenstein says, like it or not, if we know our own history, because we usually can’t reject its bloody gifts, we become complicit in it, even in things that no human being wished at the time. The children born just after the Black Death didn’t ask to get a richer world with more to go around and more open opportunities via the death of half the people in the older generations, but that is what they got, and that is how they got it. Similarly, my Daybreak disaster kills billions; but the millions born just after it are, in many cases, much better off than they could have been before.
6. Shadow civilizations. In Latin, a fortified house or compound was a villa, and in Old German it was a burg; in Latin a town was an oppidum and a city was an urbs. There are practically no settled places in Europe with any form of “oppidum” or “urbs” in their names, but countless ones ending in -burg or -vill(e), and the standard explanation is that the towns and cities were deathtraps and the fortified homes were safe havens. Well, the doompreppers (hey, there’s a band name) have been building various kinds of quiet refuges since the 1970s, and accelerated their activity since Obama was elected; some of them are rich. And as for the Tribes that were waiting to surge into existence after Daybreak, it’s kind of interesting how many Masons there were among the founding American revolutionaries, and the real story behind the Jacobin Club will probably never be known, and I’m told that some Irish, Algerian, and Indian families treasure wedding licenses issued by revolutionary governments well before the revolution. If something will someday replace the American government, it may be present in embryo on the street where you live.
7. Diesel is the coolest punk. For the pure pleasure of sitting in a chair and imagining wild adventures that I would absolutely hate (because I’d get killed) in real life, nothing beats the between-the-wars pulp adventure tradition, when you could have real cowboys, intrepid reporters, fierce war lords, jaded PI’s, gallant aviators, secret weapons, remote fortresses, crazy inventors, cunning spies … eahh, I’m literary-homesick again. So I created a world that could have all of those, because without radar, radio, satellites, computers, etc., the world is a big place with a wild diversity of romantic occupations again. Not that I want to live there, but it’s where I want to go play.
And then a bonus: the way I like to do things.
8. ALL AT ONCE!
The Last President: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s
Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s blog. Follow him on Twitter.
[As of 10:15 AM, the *blog* link is the same as the *Read an excerpt* link. Thought you’d want to know asap.]
Didn’t John Barnes used to write outer space sf like Orbital Resonance?
I am partially through the first book in the series. It is pretty good. The techno-bits make it a fun fast paced read. Large cast of characters so you see this from alot of different angles. Most books like this the good guys stop this type of thing, so you don’t get to see what would happen if they didn’t. This is a nice twist so its more about, the bad guys won, so now what do we do?
Thank you John. Once again you have made me aware of a series of books that sounds tailor made to my tastes yet was completely unaware existed. Going out to find these today!
In other news my signed copy of TMOLC arrived Tuesday while I was reading about you receiving your lovely Hugo award. You couldn’t have better sent a better announcement gift. Serendipity or the planning of genius? Hmmmmm….
This looks completely up my alley. I’ll have to put the series on my reading list.
Back in my younger days, I was a student at Bowling Green State University. I took several classes in Latin, as well as Roman History. Despite what many people believe, no civilization has ever fornicated itself to death, although several have tried. Rome took centuries to fall, and perhaps there are parallels to be seen in today’s modern world that would seem to indicate we’re on the same path to destruction. Of course, it’s difficult to see the patterns when you’re inside them, just as Dr. Asimov illustrated in his Foundation series. If you simply use one or two arguments to refute the decline, such as, look at our technological breakthroughs, or look at how much longer people are staying alive, that’s not necessarily progress. Progress to me would be a process that is beneficial to the most people with the least amount of harm done to the world, the environment, and to other people. Yes, it’s damned idealistic. Sue me!
Yay for the shout-out to The President’s Plane is Missing”!! I read it in my teens and it prepared me for Clancy’s works. In related news, I’m going to go order Book 1 of the trilogy now.
By the time Rome fell it was basically a backwater; the Eastern Roman Empire had the wealth and power, and it didn’t collapse until Mehmet the Conqueror arrived at its gates in 1453. Absolutely true that the decline of the Western Empire was accomplished one piece at a time, as barbarian tribes moved into the central empire and became major fixtures in the state. (Arguably, the empire slid from “Romanizing” barbarians to barbarizing Rome, similar to the Janissary capture of the Ottoman government.) There wasn’t much Rome left to fall when Alaric showed up with his Goths, and even less by the end of the Western imperial line.
Nonetheless, for centuries thereafter we saw kings and emperors continue to at least rhetorically take the mantle of the Romans, as Voltaire wryly deconstructed. Even when Mehmet took Constantinople, he himself didn’t see it as an end to the Roman state, but a rebirth, remaking himself into the heir of the Romans. Perhaps, if the US slides into its own world-historical decline, we will see people around the world continue to speak English and look to the US as a flawed but majestic attempt at a humanistic and humane civilization.
Also, I too miss Constitutional thrillers. I think the closest we’ve had in recent years was on the TV show “Scandal,” where the 25th Amendment came into play. I wonder where I left that copy of “Seven Days in May….”
I hadn’t heard of this series before, but it definitely sounds like a “keeper”. I was delighted to find that Amazon has paperbacks of the first two in stock, and release of this latest one in paperback is expected in the spring and is already available for pre-order, so I’ve added all three to the “saved for later” part of my Cart (for after I finish my recently-acquired complete Riverworld set.
The Wikipedia article on this series notes (forgot to see how recent that is) that Barnes has been thinking about re-writing the first two so that the overall series has a smoother flow. Any current word on how likely that revision is? If it’s fairly probable, I should likely think about holding off on the purchase till the new versions come out.
Oops, left out the closing paren in the first para, sorry abut that. One of these years maybe I’ll get into the habit of hitting the Preview button instead of jumping right to Post.
No one can predict the future (too many variables, unknown and unknown), but I tend to think it’s likelier American hegemony will decline similarly to the way in which the British Empire fell apart. Why? The global economy is just too integrated for the major powers, old and newly ascendent, to allow a Roman-style whimpering out. But of course a cataclysm such as Daybreak could change all that because it would trash the economy even more so than the Black Death defenestrated Medieval Europe prior to the Renaissance.
“History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” ~ Mark Twain (possibly apocryphal)
“The Holy Roman Empire is neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.” ~ Voltaire
Mr. Barnes, I really enjoyed your “Book Doctor’s Little Black Bag” columns. I realize you are planning to spend more time actually book-doctoring, but if you have any more columns, I would love reading them.
Amazing. I read and really liked all three of the books he mentions (Advise and Consent, Seven Days in May, and The President’s Plane is Missing) as well as others of the type. I think he is the first person I have run across who remembers that The President;s Plane is Missing was even published. I guess I need to read this series.
Erm… I have a confession to make: I didn’t like Directive 51 much. For me, it tried to do too much. There were too many loose ends flapping in the wind, too many “SUDDENLY, THIS!” moments. The emergent insurgent movement of Daybreak was fascinating to read, but where did this [REDACTED] cabal come from? Why is there a constitutional crisis going on at the same time? What is this fortified villa that’s turned into a feudal state? What the heck is going on?! AUGH! Individually, the constitutional crisis and Daybreak would have made great and fascinating reads. Glommed together, both threads got too lost in each other for me.
Reading this Big Idea, though, makes the author’s thinking a lot clearer, in that he was looking for that chaos, that mixture of Lots Of Stuff, that avalanche of things that you can barely get your head up over. And… in that light, I can get behind that idea. And I’m thinking that, maybe now that I know what to expect, I might give Last President a try.
Thank you, John Barnes, for this writeup; and thank you, John Scalzi, for posting it!
Thanks everyone for the many comments! I’m back into somewhat more than full time employment now — putting together a Gifted and Talented high school curriculum in what’s basically a startup year (or a reboot after a not-so-good startup year) — so I spend my days surrounded by odd brainy 14 year olds. Not that anyone here would ever have met any of those before, or know anything about them, but rewarding as it is, it’s also a bit time consuming ….
Nevertheless, here I am, so tackling questions and notes in rough order … first a huge thanks to John Scalzi for this generous way of paying forward to his fellow writers (and another bravo for the Hugo, while we’re at it). I always really enjoy the Big Ideas and it’s great fun to get to write one.
Short answers first, then one long one:
Tam, I write a lot of things. If space adventure with teenagers is your thing, besides Orbital Resonance there’s The Sky So Big and Black, three books about Jak Jinnaka, and the fairly recent Losers in Space.
Constitutional thrillers. Yes, I want to do more of them. Have to find some place and time for it, but I’d like to tackle more of them. My favorite of all time was Advise and Consent, but shout outs to the whole genre; you’d think in our confused and divided politics they’d be more popular.
fuzznose, Bowling Green State University catches my eye … I grew up (sort of) in Bowling Green. Glad to know someone there went to classes — the townspeople never thought you did!
Rome falling and sliding: yes to all the history notes; isn’t it great what a big whacking tangle we get when we try to unravel the sweater of history? My stray thought was that the United States might end up like Rome in the sense that for centuries afterward, you’d have “true” claimants to the “Presidential throne,” and people trying to reinvent it, and that’s another plot line source for many books to come. Another hidden influence on the Daybreak books is Rosemary Sutcliff’s Aquila Trilogy (The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, and The Lantern Bearers, especially the latter) which are snapshots at 150-year intervals of Rome sliding out of Britain, brilliant YAs, and great fun. (Don’t trust’em for history, though!)
CWJ … About my blogging … as you may have noticed, I blog long when I blog, both at Approachably Reclusive and at The Book Doctor’s Little Black Bag. I’m also finishing a new mainstream YA novel and dealing with my aforementioned Little Odd Geniuses. So the quick answer is … real soon now! Really! I mean, real soon. (Same answer, sadly, I’m giving everyone these days …)
Tangling threads together a bit, from Guess, Mike B-Cda, and vmink, so here’s the story of the stories: I had always proposed and intended that these would be great chaotic swamps of books, in the spirit of Fielding, Dumas, Dickens, Hugo, Tolstoy, and all those other writers of huge meandering doorstop loose and baggy monsters. Ace was primarily interested in publishing books whose covers could look a lot like the cover of S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire (which does fit fairly well for Directive 51, though it’s a bit misleading), and my editor there is a deep believer in what I refer to as the Screenwriter/FirstPersonShooter theory of plot, i.e. that there should be, really, one character in a book and that character should do everything. So very large parts of Directive 51 and Daybreak Zero were cut because they were “distractions” from the plot thread (the Heather O’Grainne story) which had been appointed the “real” or “main” plot, and everything was squoze down into that one thread.
Since, bluntly, I needed the money, and the Acefolk were fairly serious about promoting the first two books, I went along with it, but tried to keep as much of the original story somewhere in the book as possible (which meant sometimes large scenes were replaced by narrative summary or a couple lines of dialogue mentioning things that happened off camera, and sometimes whole threads were forcibly dropped because “You don’t need that. This is about how Heather does one thing. Just focus on Heather and the One Thing.”) By the third book, when it was clear that the financial incentive of a hit series just wasn’t going to materialize, I was tired of throwing most of the good stuff onto the floor to satisfy the theories of a couple twenty-something marketing MBAs, so I wrote THE LAST PRESIDENT as if the first two books had been published as intended, and there are occasional references in it to things that might not actually have been mentioned in the previously published volumes.
Not really a spoiler: In THE LAST PRESIDENT I did actually undo one thing from a previous book. You’ll know when you get there, but I strongly felt that doing it and then undoing it resulted in something much more entertaining than my original idea, so that will stay in any revised editions.
My next move with the series — I hope this is not a spoiler either — is that there will be a series of wild frontier adventures in the wildly diverse new world, and those will happen to the characters who were in their teens and early twenties in the first trilogy. The second generation, the ones who lived through Daybreak as teenagers and grow up in the broken world as young adults, get their turns, so you’ll see much more of Cassie, Whorf, Ihor, Acey, Paley, Patrick, Ntale, and Pauline in the next few books, which will tend to be shorter adventure tales. Those books are what I’ll be writing next in the series.
At some indefinite future date, especially if the adventure books yet to be written sell well, I might publish a restored/complete Directive 51 (which would be about 40% longer) and Daybreak Zero (about 50% longer). But everything that happens in the existing published version will also happen in the expanded version. It’s just some characters and plots will get more screen time. (Not unlike Stephen King’s long version “director’s cut” of The Stand).
And most importantly, one theme will get more screen time: the thing that seemd to upset them most at Ace is that I’m actually rather a Luddite. If I could actually wipe out the last few decades of technological progress without killing billions (please note I can’t do it and it would kill billions) I would be sorely tempted. Indeed I believe a major part of our economic woes are that the “computer revolution” did not actually improve anything; it just disemployed a very large number of people, reduced wages, and enriched parasitic jerks like Jobs and Gates. The thing that genuinely freaked the editors and marketers was that it wasn’t clear who the “bad guys” were in the author’s mind (some reviewers still picked up on this), and a lot of the cutting was dedicated to removing scenes in which Daybreakers were “too sympathetic”, and even more so scenes in which the appointed “good guy cops” were shown to doing ugly things (or not framing them as ugly).
So today’s published versions are missing stuff that should have been there, but in the future-if-ever “directors cut”, not much, if anything, will actually be different; there’ll just be more of it, from a more neutral point of view, and not so many threads will trail off. And it is likely to be several years before I even begin to think about doing those restored versions.
And that, I think, covers comments to date … more notes cheerfully answered, generally in the evenings …. and one more thank you to our host!
Great Big Idea, adding the trilogy to my reading list right now.
Very true about non US people being weirded out about how fanatical US people are over the constitution. While I hate nationalist ideas in general I can’t help but feel a little jealous of the cultural identity it gives American’s, as opposed to the the cultural vaccum that is the experience of being Australian. You guys had two (two!) movies this year with the president personally fighting off attempted kidnappings by terrorists, and while we snigger at you guys for stuff like that, I sometimes think we’re poorer for it. Then again I’m going to be happy that I live here when Yellowstone explodes next year.
“There are practically no settled places in Europe with any form of “oppidum” or “urbs” in their names, but countless ones ending in -burg or -vill(e), and the standard explanation is that the towns and cities were deathtraps and the fortified homes were safe havens.”
The standard explanation is complete nonsense, not least because
a) Roman cities didn’t generally have names with “urbs” or “oppidum” in them and
b) there are modern cities on the sites of most of the Roman cities. Frankly it sounds like the sort of rubbish that American survivalists come up with to justify their weird life choices.
On the first point, look at Roman Britain for an example.There aren’t any major Roman settlements called “urbs something” or “oppidum something”. (Here’s a list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Britain#Town_and_country) What you did get was lots of towns growing up around Roman garrisons. The way you tell those is that they included the word “-castrum”, and England is littered with major towns like that: Chester, Manchester, Doncaster, Lancaster, Cirencester, Leicester, Gloucester and so on.You don’t get many modern towns in England called “Something Village” or “Something Town” or even “Something City”, either.
On the second point, look at that list again and see how many of those Roman towns don’t have modern towns on the same sites. Not very many. Most of those Roman towns have been continuously occupied since the Romans, because, apart from anything else, they’re good places to build towns!
And “villa” doesn’t mean “fortified house or compound”. It means “farm house” in Latin and later came to mean “farming town”. “Burg” doesn’t mean “fortified house or compound” either. It means “Castle or fortified town”. All those places with “burg” in their names weren’t the isolated compounds of Dark Age Survivalists. They were cities (at least in status; villages in population by modern standards) with walls and towers and city governments.
John Barnes: Wow, thank you for the reply, and… what you say makes depressing sense and clears up a LOT of things. It sounds like the editors at Ace all but did a Probe on your book. I can’t imagine how hard it was to cut out so much from your own work that was integral to the story you wanted to tell. Now that you’ve explained it, however, and went forward with The Last President as you wanted it, I am definitely going to give it a read!
and…. I just re-read Orbital Resonance for about the millionth time- guess I should add these to the reading pile.
Catching up here after a particularly hectic Friday …
Aaron, I remember ages ago running into a study of prisoner organizations in German POW camps during WW2, as a way of studying political culture, because of course POWs tended to come from all over their country of origin, and because the Germans essentially said “Organize yourselves any way you want but tell us who we give orders to and who will be held responsible for your behavior.” (This may be my hazy memory at work here). Apparently there was surprisingly little variation from camp to camp: Russians put higher ranking officers in charge in a conventional chain of command with political officers as “advisors”, the British put one senior officer in nominal authority, let him appoint others like himself to a small inner council, and held general meetings of everyone else to ratify the council’s decisions now and then, the French changed the organization every few months, and the Americans wrote lengthy bylaws full of checks and balances with a clearly separated executive, legislative, and judicial branch.
ajay, interesting and another note of grist for another mill. How do you count the places ending in -ton? I always thought that was a contraction of -town. (US place names are rife with city, town, ville, burg, etc. but of course they’re very recent. Peripherally, though, you can make a pretty good map of where the various Indian Wars happened by counting the number of towns that begin with Fort, or used to; anyplace where there’s a lot of Fort Somethings tends to be either where there was a lot of fighting or it was on the road to it.) And indeed, what you’re saying makes sense; mostly ancient walled towns must have become medieval walled towns. As you say, a good place for a town and there was already a wall there.
Some future day I may get a story out of the existence of some “unnatural towns” — places that flourished in one civilization but were never rebuilt, or seem unlikely to be. In American civilization I’d put Las Vegas, Indianapolis, and Washington on the list; there’s no port or pass to justify them, they just kind of happened from odd legislative choices. Some of the Gulf States cities, too, might be added to that list.
vmink, thanks for the vote of confidence! and pam, aside from what are actually very minor considerations of income, I’m not displeased when people re-read their favorite of my works rather than try for completeness. I really do write a lot of different kinds of things, and I don’t think I have a friend who has liked everything I’ve written. Better you re-read your favorite for the millionth time and think of me as the guy that wrote that one good book than as an unfortunate chore to be completed.
“ajay, interesting and another note of grist for another mill. How do you count the places ending in -ton? I always thought that was a contraction of -town.”
Interestingly, it’s pretty much exactly the reverse. “ton” as Brighton, etc, actually means “enclosed space” in Old English, from a Germanic word meaning “fence”. So if something had “ton” at the end, originally it meant that it was an area of ground that had a fence (rather than a wall) around it. It doesn’t mean “settlement” so much as “stockade”. It came to mean “medium-sized settlement” rather later on, after the point at which Brighton and Bolton and so on had already been named.
That’s in England. In Celtic countries, “dun” and similar (dum, din, dyn) means “fort”. Dundee, Dundalk, Dunbar and so on.
I like the idea of unnatural towns – you could maybe include towns that were built for a good reason that has since disappeared. Port towns where the coastline has receded (like Priene in Turkey) or the river has changed its course or silted up. Mining towns where the minerals have gone. The fur trading towns of Siberia and Canada.
Way too late, but…
“In American civilization I’d put Las Vegas, Indianapolis, and Washington on the list; there’s no port or pass to justify them, they just kind of happened from odd legislative choices. ”
Washington DC was put where it is because the Port of Georgetown is right there, and the Port of Alexandria is right across the Potomac River. At the time it was a pretty major inland route. Las Vegas is the site of a vital watering hole when you’re crossing the Mojave Desert. Pretty sure Indianapolis is situated on a river, too.
Wiredog, so maybe there are no unnatural towns?
Indianapolis was just situated to be at the center of Indiana; it’s on the White River, which is a decent canoe stream but not much more than that. AFAIK it never was a major commercial river, and other towns along it are much smaller.
ajay, as you see, unnatural towns may be harder to come up with than one might first think, but certainly a lot of Western ghost towns were fairly big before progress ate them, and here’s an odd thought: maybe a border city, once the border is pacified or conquered. Detroit/Windsor grew in the 19th century because it was a logical invasion route, and then in the 20th because it got lucky with an industry that needed water transport for coal and steel, but nowadays we don’t really need to hold the left bank of the Detroit River against bands of marauding Canadians, so when the town suffered an industry collapse, there were no “natural” features to pull it back up (it’s a perfectly fine port but so are dozens of other ports all around the lakes, and there’s a rail and canal network, so that no one port is really “necessary.”
Re. English place names: consider how many have “shire”, “ham” or “ton” in them.
In fact, there is even a town near Bristol called Shirehampton Village!
“maybe a border city, once the border is pacified or conquered”
Yeah, like it. Or any military town, really: if you ever get the chance, Clark Air Field in the Philippines used to be an incredibly Ballardian place. It was a huge USAF base in the seventies and eighties, then Pinatubo erupted, the USAF pulled out, and the jungle ate it.
Canberra? There was a sheep station there but not much more, until the Australians decided to build a capital city there.
“Or any military town, really”
Maybe air bases or training camps more than forts or ports, though; those tend to be in physically dictated locations.
I’m re-reading this post (& comments) to confirm that The Last President is, indeed, the 3rd book in a trilogy.
Less than 100 pages from the end of the 3 books, I don’t see any way that even half the plot threads can be resolved! Heck, I’m not even 100% sure there *is* an antagonist yet.
An extremely engrossing & entertaining read, Mr. Barnes – much thanks!
Old Aggie, just noticed your comment here and wanted to say thanks.
Hope that by now the mystery is resolved … other readers should now cover your eyes, or click away. I don’t think this is a spoiler but since I don’t care about spoilers I am sometimes insensitive:
The Daybreak trilogy is the origin story for the Seven Nations Era fictional world, which is my future-alt history of the US that starts on October 27, 2024, and runs till I stop typing and it gets real dark and they throw dirt on me. The Seven Nations Era is what followed the First Republic of the United States and precedes … well, that would be telling.
So the stories of the individual people get mostly resolved (they’ll be the older, less active generation in future books, or they’ll be the vigorous young heroes), but the Seven Nations Era world has about as many books as I care to write left in it. Yes, I’ve played you like a drug dealer on a school yard. First one was free, kid, and all the cool kids are trying it. Mwah hah hah!