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Crimson Phoenix (A Victoria Emerson Thriller Book 1) The first in a new series by award winning Ne w York Times bestselling master of the action thriller John GilstrapWith America brought to the brink of destruction by nuclear war Congresswoman Victoria Emerson becomes a beacon of guidance to desperate citizens They call the community they form Eden but it's anything but paradiseVictoria Emerson is a congressional member of the U S House of Representatives for the state of West Virginia Her aspirations have always been to help her community and to avoid the ambitious power plays of her peers in Washington D C Then Major Joseph McCrea appears on her doorstep and uses the code phrase Crimson Phoenix meaning this is not a drill The United States is on the verge of nuclear war Victoria must accompany McCrea to a secure bunker She cannot bring her familyA single mother Victoria refuses to abandon her three teenage sons Denied entry to the bunker they nonetheless survive the nuclear onslaught that devastates the country The land is nearly uninhabitable Electronics have been rendered useless Food is scarce Millions of scared and ailing people await aid from a government that is unable to regroup much less organize a rescue from the chaosVictoria devotes herself to reestablishing order only to encounter the harsh realities reuired of a leader dealing with desperate people A scary world in which all our fears come true Follow the nuclear war and the aftermath of it and the amazing characters in the reestablishing of some kind of order in the presence of noneI couldn't put this book down even though it made my chest tight at the fear of this actually happeningI received this ARC in exchange for an honest review I have to admit when I reuested this book from NetGalley I didn't even look up the book summary John Gilstrap is a go to author for me with his Jonathan Grave Series and an automatic buy the minute I see his name Imagine my surprise when I started the book and got a few pages in and thought wait a minute So I hurriedly went back to NetGalley to read the summary and realized that this was book 1 in a new series Now with that out of the way it was a wonderful beginningIn the year of 2020 I don't think that any of us will be surprised at too much any So the premise of surviving a nuclear world war sure why not We are introduced to a few new characters and this book features alternating POV's First off we meet Congresswoman Victoria Emerson and her two sons Caleb and Luke The dynamics of that relationship along with the two military men who are selected to guard her but not her family is an interesting developing dynamic We then move to Adam her oldest son and his situation We are also party to the comical actions of the 400 surviving members of the House and the Senate who were safeguarded in an underground bunker That than anything provides comic relief even though I'm not sure it was his intent It is just so very ACCURATE in the portrayal in their struggle for power to the exception of all else Even in the aftermath of the catastrophic loss of billions of lives they are still fighting like cats and dogs and acting like childrenThe best thing I can say about this book is that when I got to the last page it was completely unexpected The writing was so well done and I was so caught up in the story that I didn't even realize how far I had gotten in the book and I was also very disappointed that there weren’t any pages So did I like it Absolutely Will I continue the series Let's just say that now when I see a book by author John Gilstrap I won't even need to see which series it belongs to because it will be an automatic buy regardlessThank you to NetGalley for allowing me to receive an ARC My opinion is solely my own with no outside influence I received an ARC of Crimson Phoenix by John Gilstrap in exchange for my review I did not read any reviews prior to drafting my reviewI was eager to read Crimson Phoenix as John Gilstrap has written many books in a different series which seem to have been very favorably reviewedCrimson Phoenix is the first book in a new series featuring Victoria Emerson Victoria is a member of the House of Representatives She is also a widow with three sons A knock on the door uickly leads to the use of the code phrase Crimson Phoenix which is used to trigger a retreat for the elected leadership to a secret bunker in case of a nuclear attack When she gets to the bunker she is disappointed to learn that only the elected officials and one staffer each are allowed in to the facility Victoria decides she will not go in without her children and decides to seek shelter elsewhereThe novel takes a dystopian bent as the country gets hit by numerous nuclear weapons No electricity No police It is like living as they did before the industrial revolution You know you are having a good day if you are still alive A once orderly society uickly devolves into a cutthroat situation where there is little if any law and order and people have very different ideas of what ualifies as justice The novel sort of rotates through the congressmen who made it to the bunker and their essentially futile efforts to gather information and take effective leadership action Victoria's travels and encounters and events related to her her third son who was at a private school and his trials and tribulations The primary focus is on Victoria and her leadership in a small town she and her two younger sons settle in She is pretty effective but often greatly resentedGiven the circumstances I found the overtones to be rather dark I thought the book was fine but a little bit gloomy It makes me realize that I take an awful lot for granted

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