by Chuck Wendig
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world's last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
One of my most highly anticipated books of the summer, Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. is the perfect for fans of The Stand.. Grab a cup of coffee and check out this addictive, dark, and terrifying tale.
Wendig’s relevant, apocalyptic tale touches on technology, extreme religious groups, end of times, and the fear of the unknown. From political maneuvering to using fear as a tool we see and experience it all as a young girl follows her sister and others across America’s flyover states.
It’s a normal sunny morning on the farm when Shanna sees her younger sister walking aimlessly towards the road. She follows and quickly realizes something is wrong. By the time she gets her father another walker has joined her sister. They are walking, eyes wide-open fixed straight ahead and unseeing. Attempts to stop the walkers are met with horrific consequences and that is when disgraced former CDC scientist, Benji is called in and introduced to a predictive computer. The tale that unfolds crossed into our reality making the story absolutely disturbing and at times terrifying.
The tale is told primarily through Benji’s POV, but be also get Shanna who never leaves her sister’s side. We meet Matthew a small town preacher who becomes caught up in one of many conspiracies. Then we have Ozark Stover. He is a radical militia leader who backs the current presidential opponent and is willing to use fear to further his cause. This man will give you nightmares. Then we have Peter Corley, a rocker with a secret who finds his way to the walkers and the shepherds who follow them.
We get to know these characters and throughout the journey see them working together as the outside world struggles to understand, stop and use them for their own agenda. What is causing this? Is it a terrorist act? Where are they going? Meanwhile a horrific new virus is spreading globally. Is there a link to the walkers? It was all so addictive!
Wendig uses all of these characters and their threads to weave an apocalyptic tale that touches on key political and climate issues, but also weaves in technological advancements and more to create a story that delivered an edge of your seat thriller. I could totally see this story being told on the big screen or maybe Netflix needs to pick it up.
Nothing is more terrifying than a story whose headlines mirror our own. While the scientific advances may not happen for years, the concept combines with today’s advances and climate made it feel wholly conceivable.
When an eight hundred page novels is over in the blink of an eye and you awaken to realize time has slipped by … you know you’ve just read a superb story. I highly recommend adding Wanderers to your summer must read list.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: