Cover of The Rule of Three by Eric Walters. A light aircraft flies over a burning suburban neighborhood

About the Book

Title: The Rule of Three (The Rule of Three #1)
Published: 2014

Cover Story: Burn, Baby, Burn
Drinking Buddy: Home Brew
Testosterone Level: Love Among the Ashes
Talky Talk: I’ve Seen Better…But Not Many
Bonus Factors: Light Aircraft, Herb, Y2K
Bromance Status: You and Me to the End of the World, Dude!

Cover Story: Burn, Baby, Burn

Wrecked cars, mysterious aircraft, a burning city. Seriously, what else could you want?

Talky Talk:

Adam Daley’s just an average kid, an aspiring pilot, and awkward with the girls. One day there’s a power failure at his school, and everyone is sent home early. As he’s going to pick up his younger brother and sister in his ’79 Omni, he realizes that his is the only car on the road.

He realizes that anything–anything–that depends on a computer no longer works. Only very basic machines still function. Or really old ones–like Adam’s car.

It soon becomes obvious that the outage is not local, or even statewide. It’s worldwide. The little things that held society together begin to collapse. Adam’s father is out of town on business, and there’s no way to contact him. His mother, the local police captain, is the only real authority anywhere. People begin to loot. Cars like Adam’s become priceless. So do guns. Adam is desperate to protect his mother, his siblings, his buddy Todd…and Lori, the cute girl who lives on a nearby farm.

Fortunately, there’s Herb, Adam’s neighbor. Herb may or may not have worked for the government at one time, he’s elusive about his past. But he teaches Adam about the Rule of Three: A person can last three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. The community is running out of time. Together with Herb and his mother, Adam prepares to organize his neighborhood’s last stand against the starving masses just outside.

Drinking Buddy: Home Brew

Two pints of beer cheersing

I like Adam. He’s an unassuming everyman, suddenly thrust into the role of defender of the area. He’s awkward around Lori, reluctant to take a leadership role, and a genuinely nice guy. At the same time, he really rises to the occasion, even to the extent of using a gun against raiders. He’s relatable, and kind of bad ass.

Testosterone Level: Love Among the Ashes

Aerial combat, lynching looters, makeshift weapons, and deciding who lives and who dies. It’s about what you’d expect from the cover. Also, there’s the awkward first date/first kiss along the perimeter wall, hoping no one tries to breach the compound that night. Hey, I may not have a cool car like your last boyfriend but at least mine still runs. Plus I’m not dead.

Talky Talk: I’ve Seen Better…But Not Many

The backstory in this book was wonky and we’re never really told why the computers went out or what’s happening in the rest of the world. I think this is the first part of a series, though I couldn’t find any confirmation. Pity, I really wonder what happened to Adam’s father.

At any rate, it’s a quick and exciting read, a good for people who like lots of action, but nothing over the top.

Bonus Factor: Light Aircraft

Small aircraft

So before the disaster, Adam and his father had been working on a homemade airplane in their garage. Adam was going to get his pilot’s license. Just a hobby, something they do on the weekends.

Only now, the little aircraft may be what the community needs to survive. Reconnaissance, spying, looking for supplies, and taking Lori on a date she’ll never forget.

Hey, is that a Cessna? Whoa…um, are they shooting at us?

Bonus Factor: Herb

President Herbert Hoover (clothed)

Herb. Adam’s mysterious neighbor. A crusty old man. Won’t talk about his past.

But he knows exactly what to do when the world comes crashing down. He knows the future value of gasoline, chlorine tablets, and guns. He knows how to put down a riot. He knows that Adam’s mother must be set up as the end-all authority of the neighborhood. Most importantly, he knows that the only way anyone is going to survive is if they cut themselves off completely and live by their own wits alone. Very few outsiders are allowed in. Actually, Herb was in favor of a much more ‘selective’ triage system, until Adam talked him out of it.

It’s the end of the world, but with Herb on your side, you just might live to see tomorrow…if he likes you.

Bonus Factor: YK2

Stylized computer screens

Okay, so the real Y2K resulted in some guy’s Blockbuster account being overbilled. However, this book really makes you think about how much we rely on technology, and how much we’d miss our TV, internet, and safe drinking water if it were to vanish.

Bromance Status: You and Me to the End of the World, Dude!

This book really stepped up to the plate, and I’m glad it was there when things went bad. Hope to see a sequel, otherwise I’m going to be really pissed.

FTC full disclosure: I received a free copy of this from Farrar Straus Giroux. No money, but it’s not like cash will be worth anything in the coming days.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.