What happens when America’s infrastructure is shut down and no longer has electricity or food or water?
What does a retired Special Forces soldier named Zeke Allenby find while looking for his lost sister-in-law and children in the aftermath of the national disaster?
What roles do UFOs and angels play in all this? Is it true that extraterrestrial beings are preparing for their arrival on Earth to save the planet from the evils of mankind? Or is true they are coming to destroy the souls of mankind by leading them away from God?
What will Zeke Allenby do that will make a difference in the outcome?
America has been attacked, not from a conventional nuclear weapon, but from an EMP bomb which creates an electro-magnetic pulse that follows conductive paths such as power lines, metal fences, and even railroad tracks. This pulse occurs in a nanosecond and destroys most IC computer chips——those little pieces of artificial intelligence that allow us to communicate, travel, power our homes, and even obtain food and water. The nation’s infrastructure has been brought to its knees in less than a billionth of a second. The situation is the same in Gold Tree, Texas, a tiny outpost of a town in the barrens of West Texas. But there is an added feature to the crisis here: the highway leading in and out of town crosses an expansion bridge, and the bridge is blocked by armed soldiers. Gold Tree’s inhabitants are trapped. One Gold Tree resident, Zeke Allenby, a former army special-forces soldier, has family in Houston, over 500 miles away in the eastern part of the state. He needs to rescue them, a sister-in-law and her two children, from the growing chaos and danger certain to arise in a large, metropolitan city like Houston. But first he has to find a way past the soldiers guarding Gold Tree. Zeke meets Paul Stover the week following the pulse. Stover is second-in-command of a high-tech data company owned by Steve Albright. Albright and Stover make a deal for Zeke to guide them and Albright’s young boy out of the area on backroads through the mountains to Austin where Albright has a safe-house/office hidden in the countryside. From Austin Zeke plans to head to Houston. In the early stages of the trip, Stover tells Zeke that Albright’s quantum computers intercepted communications between members of our own government and some advanced race of beings not from this Earth. Stover believes they are after him and Albright for intercepting the communications. Although Zeke feels like they are being followed, he denies the possibility of space aliens being involved. His mind is too rational to believe in such nonsense. A famous archeologist working a dig in Turkey suddenly appears to Zeke and his group in the West Texas mountains where they are camping during their trip to Austin. The archeologist claims he was kidnapped but won’t elaborate, still baffled how he suddenly appeared in Texas, on the other side of the globe from Turkey. After narrowly escaping a robbery attempt made by some hippie highwaymen, Zeke is visited by a small band of Apache Indians on horseback one night during a rainstorm. Zeke learns from the Apache chief that there are still roadblocks on the interstates. Zeke and his group stay off-road, driving on rugged mountain trails in an old pickup truck they stole from the hippie highwaymen. Once past the roadblocks, and after purchasing a minivan from a shrewd, elderly cowboy, they finally make it to Albright’s state-of-the-art safe-house/office hidden in the countryside near Austin. While at the safe-house, Zeke learns that the individuals behind the communications Albright’s company had intercepted are actually after him, not Albright and Stover. It doesn’t make sense to Zeke. He responds to this news angrily before leaving the safe-house to head toward Houston for his sister-in-law, Ruth, and her two small children. At the relief camp Ruth had supposedly visited, Zeke is unsuccessful in finding her or learning where she and her kids went. Zeke is wandering in thick pine woods in East Texas. He barely knows who he is and has no idea that more than two years have expired since leaving Austin. In the woods, he finds an A-frame house where Sabrina, a beautiful woman, nurtures him back to health while simultaneously convincing him that she witnessed him being abducted by a UFO. She joins him as he decides to backtrack to Austin and eventually Gold Tree in her car. Not long after leaving her A-frame they nearly crash into a car stopped in the middle of the highway. The driver turns out to be Andrew Coleman, a NFL-sized preacher from a nearby town. Andrew gives them a ride back to his town while waiting for Sabrina’s car to be repaired. Strange things happen during their one-day stay in Andrew’s town: Sabrina’s car disappears without a trace from the spot where they left it; they have an odd confrontation with a strange man in a park; and overnight Andrew claims to have an angelic visitation, ordering him to take Zeke to Gold Tree. Meanwhile, Paul Stover is recuperating from his own abduction ordeal that happened after he left Austin while hunting for Zeke. The church compound where he heals is where Ruth works, a place that an angel named Joe had led them both. Stover now knows what he must do: find Zeke and bring him and Ruth together in Gold Tree, all part of the Joe’s plan. While Zeke and Sabrina travel in Andrew’s car, Sabrina reveals her true treacherous nature by arranging to get Andrew out of the picture by staging a grieving mother who just lost her daughter in a car wreck. After Andrew leaves to console the grieving mother, Sabrina coincidentally meets an old friend in the restaurant. The friend takes her and Zeke to a seance that night. At the seance, Sabrina hopes to convince Zeke that his late wife and son exist in a heavenly place that has nothing to do with Jesus or the God of the Bible. Sabrina’s plan backfires when Andrew and a man he meets at the restaurant——John Campise, a tough-minded, former satanist who is now a Christian exposing cultic practices——crash the seance and rescue Zeke from the gathering and from Sabrina. Zeke, Andrew, and John take his car and drive to Zeke’s old cabin near Gold Tree. Zeke finally reunites with Ruth and her kids at his cabin in Gold Tree.
HAYDEN NICHOLAS has written more than twenty top-ten country music hit songs, fourteen reaching number one on the music charts. He has won numerous songwriting awards from the CMA, ACM, Grammies, and even a Tony Award for a collaborative work of music on Broadway. He currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife and son. He still performs as lead guitarist for country singer Clint Black, a position he has held since 1986. This is his first novel in print.