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Out of the Ashes (Ashes Series #1) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews
Book 1 of 34 in the Ashes Series

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pinnacle (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786019530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786019533
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kevin P. Grover on May 10, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As the author of "Strike Hard", I continually read books that piqued my interest. "Out of the Ashes", the first of the Ashes Series, was one of the most enjoyable that I have ever read. Ben Raines seems to be a reflection of William Johnstone, thus adding a lot of depth to the character. Johnstone manages to put the reader right in the middle of the war, and its aftermath, plunging the reader into a world where chaos exists. However, there is a desire to see things set right, and Ben Raines is the man for the job. From punks to outlaws, Ben manages to strive victoriously to clear the way for the rebirth of the country, in the way it was meant to be. First of a series, "Out of the Ashes" is a terrific stand-alone novel, as well as an enticing beginning to a wonderful series. It is a book that I never tire of reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm usually a romance book reader, but I was curious & read the back cover & decided to give it a try, something different...

I found the storyline & the dialogue to be very easy-to-read & the story rolled as if written by a 'real' person (if a bit preachy, but the guy sure knows what he believes in!). It's a great 'what-if' story of the ever-popular 'end of the world as we know it by nuclear war'. What if some of the people who are left want to band together, rebuild, create a society that enforces law-abiding, the right to defend yourself & your family, & live in peace ? No racism, no sexism, everyone works somehow, no free-loaders, everyone votes on the basic laws & majority is 90%, not 51%. Anyone who doesn't want to live there, can leave. Must leave. The main character hates 'scum, thugs & slime' of humanity, rape & murder are not tolerated, for any reason, justice is swift, & everyone learns, & carries, firearms, everyone from childhood is taught self-defense. Strong emphasis on Education: if your raise children to be productive, law-abiding citizens, they won't grow up to be 'racists' or 'thugs', or will know the consequences in advance. Age-old question: Would you rob someone or try to hurt someone, if you knew that they & all their family are armed ? Parents are required to teach their children clear right from wrong, so that they are not in doubt, anyone who doesn't do that, are kicked out. These people just want to live in peace & rebuild, health care for all, everyone pulls their share, only wants people who WANT to live there, they don't 'recruit' or 'force' citizenship, they just kick out anyone who doesn't want to follow the rules. No crime, no poverty, no slums...interesting concept.
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I like the post-apocalyptic genre. Like reading, watching, and writing in it. Unfortunately, a lot of it is pap. After hearing much word-of-mouth about Johnstone and his "tri-states philosophy," I hoped this would be one of the better flagships for the genre.

The nuclear war is triggered by a coup-gone-wrong involving rogue military hawks (think Jack T. Ripper with scads of accomplices). Ben Raines survives the dirty bomb holocaust, as do many others...inexplicably (at first I thought it might have something to do with the wasp stings). He begins touring the ravaged southeastern region, intending to document the nuclear devastation for a memoir, but is unwittingly crowned the leader of a new resistance movement. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming become his empire. But he and his followers are headed for a showdown with the other 47 states.

The opening act was rather tedious to wade through. I suppose the convoluted, improbable conspiracy plot was supposed to rivet me to the pages with suspenseful intrigue as it unfolded, but I really wanted to just skim. Once the missiles struck home, and we got into Ben Raines' point-of-view, it was smoother going.

If Johnstone ever explained why some people survived the radiation and some didn't, I missed it. I thought it rather unrealistic that electricity was still on for so long after a nuclear strike, and that Raines never had trouble finding gas for his vehicles. There is some mention of looting, I think, but our hero never had any trouble finding weapons, ammo, gear, food or clean water. Also, just like Captain Kirk, women throw themselves at him pretty much everywhere he goes. Nubile, supermodel-looking women, of course who "don't like sleeping alone.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
America after a nuclear apocalypse? What a great idea! Not many writers are brave enough to tackle a subject matter like that, much less do it well. Sounds like an idea too big for one book? Have no fear, this is just book one in an ongoing series with continuing characters (currently 25 books and going strong!) If you don't agree with the author's political stance (an eye for an eye, let me live in complete freedom - the less government, the better), you might get annoyed with it. I rather enjoyed imagining a world where you truly get what you deserve. The book is chock-full of spys, action, twists, sex, humor, and moves very quickly. The simplicity of the writing didn't bother me, allowing me to finish it in 3 days. It also helps move it along.
As for the reviewer from Chicago, I'm surprised (and confused) that even though you didn't like the book, you read "seven other books" in the series. I would think that (giving it a rating of 1) would have you staying far away from them... but 7 others !? I guess you are hooked - whether you like it or not - like the thousands of other "Ashes" fans around the world! As for your comments on people not joining the militia if they had problems with the government... it's already (and has been for a while) happening in the south, with certain groups having hundreds of members. Knowing about some of the battles in history, it is not unrealistic for a few thousand people to die on one side and only lose a few hundred on the other... great leaders win great battles.

If you are tired of government and big business controlling 90% of everything in society, and would like to see what could happen without them, give this series a try. It's only in theory, of course, but it's a damn good one.
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