No Easy Hope: My name is Eric Riordan. Once, I was a wealthy man leading a comfortable, easy life. Then my old friend Gabriel told me how the world would end. Gabriel tried to help me. He taught me everything he learned as a Scout Sniper in the Marine Corps. All the hard lessons from years spent in the sand choked battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. I did everything I could to prepare. I thought I was ready.
I was wrong.
When the Outbreak came, it destroyed everything. The dead rose to consume the living, and all that mankind spent so many millennia working to build was laid to waste in a matter of months. The undead spared no one, leaving only ashes and death in their wake.
For those of us still alive, every single day is a struggle. In spite of the danger, and the darkness, I still believe there is a chance that the human race can rebuild. If I can make my way North and enlist Gabriel’s help, maybe we can find enough people to start over again. It won’t be easy, though. I have to make my way across the ruins of the old world, and along the way my will to live, my humanity, and my very soul will be tested.
I have food, I have a pickup truck, and I have my trusty rifle. Most importantly, I have hope. Hope is a powerful thing, but I will need much more than that if I am to survive the dead. This is the beginning. This is my story. – Goodreads Synopsis
No Easy Hope Review
No Easy Hope, book 1 in the Surviving the Dead series, is one of my favorite zombie novels and one of my favorite audio books. This book isn’t so much about the zombies as it is a deep friendship between two men from very different backgrounds and hope. Hope and Sorrow are partners in this book, and the story they weave together is sobering, horrible, and beautiful all at the same time. Eric is a good guy. That’s the only way to describe him. It never comes off as false, and he’s definitely not a cardboard cutout character. He’s someone who was raised right, is confident in himself, has strong morals, and follows up on what he says. So when he tells Gabriel, the six-foot plus ex-Marine, that he will meet up with him after TSHTF, he will do so. Getting there might be interesting, though.
A pickup truck full of supplies, a rifle, and common sense are all Eric takes on his journey through this new world to find his friend. Along the way he meets up with characters that leave their own (mostly favorable) impression. James N. Cook does a wonderful job in making you believe that there are still good people left in this world, but also showing you the necessity of putting the bad ones in their place. Great responsibility doesn’t only come with great power, it also comes with being a decent human being. Especially after the zombie apocalypse when the dead no longer stay dead, and it’s too tempting to fall into an every man for himself mindset. Eric isn’t at ease with some of the things he has to end up doing, but he wouldn’t be nearly as likable if he was, so it works out.
There’s plenty of action in No Easy Hope, but it’s the ‘downtime’ that accounts for most of my enjoyment of it. The moments that are more precious because they’re not every day occurrences after the apocalypse. The simple human spirit that shines and grows through basic, kind interactions.
The narrator of the audio book, Guy Williams, does a fairly decent job. He fumbles the voices occasionally – especially when several people are talking, or it’s been a few minutes since one of the more distinct ones has said anything – but overall he’s got a very soothing voice to listen to that makes No Easy Hope one of those books I put on frequently to relax to at night.
No Easy Hope is a comfortable read, and definitely my favorite out of the series, though I must say that not a single one of them sucks. They’re all worth listening to.
If you disagreed with this review of No Easy Hope, feel free to chime in with your differing thoughts (as long as it’s done respectfully.)