When summer arrives, most families break out their list of activities that rarely change: some vacation, barbecuing, blockbuster movies, books, yardwork, etc.
In terms of movies and books, the basic goal is to consume stories that provide a fun, entertaining tale or a thriller that doesn’t require a ton of thought for the reader or viewer, all while providing an escape from the heat, work, or the struggles of everyday life.
If G.L. Skye was attempting to give survival readers this kind fantastic escape in his first book, “Return to Life,” he succeeded.
As is always the case with small publishing houses, this Tate Publishing and Enterprises product contains the usual, and minor, editing issues that can turn off many readers. But once you get over that, turn off your sense of skepticism and soak up the novel for what it is – pure apocalyptic escapism – readers will enjoy this page-turner.
If you’re looking for a story where the good guys are in no way confused with the bad guys, then this story is for you.
If you want to see the demise of misguided characters who think evil is relative and humanity just needs a good hug, this story is for you.
If you want the pure fantasy of an uncomplicated romance where the hero falls in love at first sight, and religious values are paramount, then this story is for you.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time examining how Middle Eastern geopolitics drives the world to destruction, this story is for you.
If you want to see how a military veteran would set up the ideal bug out location, with literally everything he wants, this book is for you.
Like I said, summer books are for escaping. And while “Return to Life” offers plenty for preppers to learn from, this is escapism on steroids.
The story follows the efforts by Morgan Russell Turner to keep his ranch and family alive in Montana’s Clearwater Mountains after a catastrophe plunges the world into chaos.
Turner is a Special Forces combat veteran whose small-town cattle ranch is wildly successful thanks to his adherence to the basics of good business and a sixth sense for trouble.
As a single, almost middle-aged survivalist, he’s been able to invest his money into preparing for the trouble many people know is coming. He was smart enough to purchase a piece of land that is highly defensible, which he knew is necessary to defend against the “scum-sucking, pimple-faced, low-down” marauders that will attempt to steal and rape their way across the state.
Of course, with all fantasies, the suspension of disbelief has to be a part of every reader’s mindset. And “Return to Life” is a shining example.
That most of the heroes are veterans and virtually everyone is willing to work non-stop with their particular skillset at prepping the ranch is a little dreamy. But, clearly Skye believes everyone has something to offer if they’re willing to apply themselves. And the good guys do just that.
As Turner builds his army of survivors who take to calling themselves the Golden Eagles, he faces the same kind of challenges most preppers expect with TEOTWAWKI. But where many writers might spend time digging into the specifics of painful and desperate situations, Skye leads us down a path of what post-apocalyptic life could be like if we prepare and keep our minds right.
Stressful situation after stressful situation is faced with resolve and conviction, and maybe that’s the greatest gift the book gives its readers.
Granted, it does become a little over-the-top when the U.S. military just happens to abandon armor, artillery and even elements of its combat air forces, and our protaganist just happens to take in a group of veterans who know how to use all this equipment. But hey, it’s summer and this is summer reading.
The book does its job of creating a good escape from the everyday world by feeding survivalists a thriller and the fantasy they all crave. And if the world can respond to catastrophe like Skye’s character Morgan Russell Turner and his compatriots do, then there is a silver lining to the challenges the world faces, even after the SHTF.