I wrote that William R. Forstchen’s One Second After was the scariest book I ever read. Dies Irae: Day of Wrath, a novella from 2014 by Forstchen is right up there.
In the introduction, Forstchen writes:
“I did not want to write this [book], but, as I expressed to friends, I feared that if I did not write it, and this nightmare happened, which it really can, I would be responsible in some way for remaining silent. If you read on from here, it will not be an enjoyable experience.”
The plot follows a school- teacher Bob Peterson and family. Peterson teaches in a suburban school in Portland, Maine.
ISIS infiltrates 30 teams of three to five terrorists by way of container ship to Vera Cruz, Mexico. Cartels help smuggle the terrorists across the border. The plan is to attack schools and then highways in smaller cities across the U.S racking up as big a body count as possible. Some weapons are procured through the Obama Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” program, others are smuggled in.
The novella proceeds with Peterson arriving at school. The jihadists take out the lone guard at the school entrance, then the principal. Then they proceed to go from room to room methodically killing the kids and teachers. Bob Peterson smashes out the windows of a classroom and gets the kids to make a run for it. Some are cut down by the Moslem terrorists, but others do make it. He has a Ruger. 380 pistol that he illegally carries despite gun-free zone rules. He uses it to shoot one terrorist in the jaw and later kills one.
While this is going on, the second team of terrorists travel the interstate highways shooting people. The roads are clogged with parents attempting to reach the school when word gets out about the attacks.
Forstchen has some effective scenes to get an emotional response. In Austin, Texas, one team of jihadists take the BMW belonging to a college friend of Kathy Peterson (Bob’s wife).
“He actually looked up and offered a friendly wave and then, knowing that it was being filmed and broadcasted, perhaps even across all of infidel America, the moment was too good to pass up. He drew his 9 mm Beretta which already had a round chambered. Mary was kneeling, gazing up at him in shock. He stepped toward her, lowered his pistol so that the barrel was already touch her forehead.
‘Oh, sweet Jesus,” she gasped.
He laughed at her pathetic prayer and then squeezed the trigger three times.
As he returned to the car, his companion in the backseat slapped him on the shoulder in congratulations and held up the pad they had with them to monitor how their jihad was going in Austin.”
Another atrocity is captured on film as a jihadist takes a twelve-year-old girl on the school roof and rapes her while a T.V. new helicopter films it. Then he cuts her throat and throws the body off the roof. One group of police attempt an assault but cut down by AK-47s. There is a Flight 94 moment when a crowd of parents and some police assault the school while the jihadists cut them down in swathes.
Obama is never mentioned by name, but you know who it is when his daughters are secured from the Quaker school in Washington, D.C.
Bob Peterson saves some kids with his gunfight with the jihadists. He takes a bullet through the spine and will never walk again.
The president gives an address thinking never let a crisis go to waste. He gives the following orders: Closing of all schools until further notice. A curfew from 8 P.M. to 8 A.M. Carrying or use of any firearm will result in immediate arrest. Immediate suspension of the use of the internet. The internet will be used by the government for official announcements. To transmit information of any kind will result in arrest.
The final scene from Raqqa, Syria after the president’s address:
“The screen went blank and the caliph sat back and laughed. ‘Allah be praised, we have won!’”
I could not put this book down. I had to force myself to go to bed and finish it the next day. I am not sure if Forstchen is an “invade the world, invite the world” guy. From One Second After, I get the impression he is as the military already is in the Middle East and mops up after the EMP attack in that novel. Also, one of the first casualties in the novel is a Pakistani Christian hotel manager who fled persecution in his native country.
This is no doubt a polemic on border security. He does have a political axe to grind. I don’t know if he has connected the dots of unneeded foreign intervention with subsequent creation of new enemies. He has the second part of the equation of lax or no border security and then the government clamping down on American civil liberties as a response after a terrorist attack.
Our timeline has taken a divergent path with the Caliph of ISIS taken out with extreme prejudice a few years back. Reading Day of Wrath reinforces situational awareness and being prepared.
I knocked this book off in two sittings so if you want a quick moving thriller that holds your attention, check out Day of Wrath.