Good reads, good friends: recuperation from a mishap can have unforeseen benefits.

Author:Venturino, Mike "Duke"

Recently I wrote in this column about recovering from open-heart surgery, by which I was laid up for several months. My passions of shooting and reloading were both forbidden. My third passion of reading was not. My sister, a retired librarian, gave me a tip. She advised I try some "end of civilization" books because they seemed to be full of gun terminology. She said she didn't understand what it meant but I surely would.

So I took her advice and discovered Franklin Horten's Borrowed World series, at that time consisting of three novels. Even mentioned in them was my tiny hometown of Williamson, West Virginia. But three books (there since is a fourth) didn't last long in my situation so I searched for more. There are indeed more--lots more--but I draw the limit at zombies and vampires and such.

Then I came across another series called The New Homefront by Steven C. Bird. Initially my eye was caught by the cover picture of Volume One--a huge airliner coursing over an obviously distressed city. There were four volumes in Mr. Bird's series so I gave them a try. And I'm glad I did for not only was there much enjoyable reading in his work but I also gained a friend--actually two friends.

But first, the books: Volume One is titled The Last Layover and in it an airline crew with Evan Baird as pilot and Jason Jones as co-pilot make a routine flight to New York City and also routinely are put up in a hotel. During the night, society begins to unravel due to attacks on infrastructure of unknown origins. Evan and Jason along with one of their flight attendants decide to try to get themselves home to Tennessee and Ohio respectively. Both pilots being Preppers, they have their "Bug-Out Bags" along but here's a fact I did not know. After September 11, 2001, there came a Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) Program authorized by Congress. It allows properly trained pilots to carry firearms. The author has Evan and Jason armed with SIG SAUER P229 .40 S&W pistols. Good start!

I'm not going to give everything away here. Evan and Jason do get their flight attendant and themselves home to their families. Evan has named his Tennessee farm "The Homefront" with preparations for just this sort of emergency, so all of them eventually gather there. In order the next three books are tided The Guardians, The Blue Ridge Resistance and The Resolution. If those particular tides don't intrigue you, then you have a lower level of curiosity than I.

I will relate one thing...

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