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“Five Years After is a veritable guidebook for surviving the apocalypse — and better yet, how to avoid it.” — Ward Larsen, bestselling author of Deep Fake

It’s been 14 years since military historian and prolific author William R. Forstchen, Ph.D., introduced readers to the realistic devastation of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack in his New York Times bestseller, One Second After. Public interest in the topic prompted Forstchen to write three sequels, the latest of which is Five Years After, and Forstchen attributes the continuing fascination with his concept to the universal fear of living without electric power.

“When those weapons [EMPs] detonate above the atmosphere, they set off something called the Compton effect … In short, it’s a giant electrostatic discharge that hits the earth’s surface, feeds into our power grid, and literally one second after … we’re in the dark,” Forstchen explained during a recent interview. “Electricity is the fundamental block of our society. Everything is predicated on electrification.”

Widely considered one of the foremost experts on EMP attacks, Forstchen’s fictional explorations in his One Second After series are rooted in the cold, solid facts of how an EMP strike above U.S. soil would impact society. That there are now four books in the series, featuring some of the same characters, should give people hope that survival is possible, with the right measures and mindset in place.

“The component of my [first] book that was so important … is the realization that the only way we’re going to get through this as a community is by working together as a community, helping those who need help … and then planning realistically for how we’re going to get through the next six months, the next year, and still have food on hand, water supply, medication, etc.,” Forstchen added.

Five Years After continues the saga of protagonist John Matherson, as he contends with new threats to the fragile civilization that he helped rebuild. The Republic of New America has all but collapsed into regional powers, and the world at large is struggling to remain stable as regional conflicts ravage the post-EMP landscape. After several years attempting to lead a quiet life, John receives word that the President is terminal with cancer, and John is asked to take over the reins of government.

Pulled back into the fray, John struggles to hold the tottering Republic together. Facing threats on multiple fronts, he races against time to stop another EMP attack on the former United States and China, putting years of progress at risk. With so much of his work under threat, John must find the strength within to start over, so that he can save the country and the people that he holds dear from even greater calamity.

Forstchen’s depiction of a post-EMP society throughout his One Second After series is rooted in years of extensive research, and he has long been advocating for greater awareness and preparation against an EMP strike, which he considers a very real threat. His goal is not to alarm, but to prompt proactive measures to protect the American public.

“We’ve got to live our lives; we’ve got to enjoy ourselves … don’t make this the obsession,” Forstchen said of the topic of EMPs. “But it should be out there. You should be thinking about this and doing some basic planning.”

About the Author
William R. Forstchen is a New York Times bestselling author and a Professor of History at Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolina. He holds a doctoral degree from Purdue University with a specialization in military history and technology. He is the author of more than 50 books, including the One Second After series that details the realistic effects of an EMP strike.

He is a noted expert historian and public speaker and has been interviewed on FOX News, C-SPAN and many others on topics ranging from history to technology and cultural issues, to space technology development, to security threats.

For more information about the One Second After series, please visit https://www.onesecondafter.com/.

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Five-Years-After-Matherson-Novel/dp/1250854563/

Five Years After
Publisher: Tor/Forge
Release Date: August 22, 2023
ISBN-10: ‎ 1250854563
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1250854568
Available now from Amazon.com


Reviews, photos, links to previous interviews and Q&As are available upon request.


Praise for Five Years After

“The future has never seemed more chilling or more believable than in Five Years After, a riveting dystopian page-turner from one of the masters of the genre. As you descend into the world that William Forstchen creates, you absolutely know that this is how it could all turn out. But as you root for the characters who inhabit his world, your faith in the human spirit will be restored.”
―William Martin, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Constitution and December ’41

“Forstchen is a rare storyteller who not only entertains, but also conveys a vital message. He reminds us how much we’ve forgotten ― how to subsist, how to fight, and how to live. Five Years After is a veritable guidebook for surviving the apocalypse ― and better yet, how to avoid it.”
― Ward Larsen, winner of eight major awards and USA Today bestselling author of Deep Fake

“With One Second After, William Forstchen redefined and elevated the genre of apocalyptic fiction. Now, with the release of Five Years After he raises the bar once more. John Matherson faces his most diabolical antagonist yet, when he he’s thrust into a deadly game of wits when a secret cabal of government survivors unleash global holocaust. To save the world, John must embrace the unthinkable, and live with the consequences forever. This is edge-of-the-seat fiction at its finest!”
― Kathleen O’Neal-Gear and W. Michael Gear, award-winning, New York Times bestselling authors of The People of the Earth series and Dissolution