Author Peter Heller has crafted believable, deeply-damaged characters that still elicit sympathy from readers, in spite of the cold-blooded killing required for them to safely exist in a dangerous world. The story shifts from beautifully descriptive scenes of nature, to heart-pounding suspense, to raw, emotional grief as Hig finds a way to carry on without any meaningful human connection. While sounding bleak, this is far from the average post-apocalyptic novel. Its striking prose in the form of Hig's internal dialogue lends insight into the inner struggles of grief and loss, making it a very affecting version of man in the midst of civilization's decay.

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