In her novel, Strike Three, Joy V. Smith introduces us to the aftermath of World War III, a short battle that claimed the lives of the majority of the Earth’s population. The survivors of the war that turned the planet brown, those who went underground well prepared, and those who survived in spite of poor planning, returned to find the world outside their caves, fallout shelters, missile silos and communication bunkers completely barren. Nothing had survived a “hot virus” that had been unleashed onto the world by an unknown enemy. Some places were obliterated by nuclear bombs, but the most severe devastation took place in the plant and animal worlds. Even the insects perished. Sheridan and Lea Zane emerged into the new world ready to organize a recovery of the planet, or at least their corner of it. They had plants and wildlife enough for their own survival, but they reached out to other survivors as they returned to the surface and began to reestablish their homes and farms. Soon, the development of a trade route brought hope to the many settlements that formed; hope that the nation and, indeed, the planet could be saved.
This story grabbed me from the start and would not let go. I read it in three sittings. Along with the plot moving at lightning speed, the characters are real and interesting in the way they react to the situation they have inherited. For the science freak, there is enough detail about the devastation and recovery to keep you going. There is also adventure, a bit of action and even politics. I happily recommend this book to a general audience.