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First Wave Books In Order

Publication Order of First Wave Books

First Wave (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Longest Day (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
No Place to Hide (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

First Wave is a series of popular survivalist novels by American novelist and survivalist expert Tony Nester, who writes as JT Sawyer. Sawyer’s debut series of fiction novels are post-apocalyptic novels that are an eclectic mix of post-apocalyptic, horror, and zombie narratives following the adventures of Travis Combs and his band of fighters living in a harsh world. The first novel in the series was “First Wave”, the highly popular novel that he first published in 2014. “First Wave” is by far Sawyer’s most popular book in the series that spawned two more titles in the same year of its publication. Reared on classic horror films such as Zombielandis and the Romero, the novels draw a lot of inspiration from these classics and the authors training and experiences in survival techniques. Sawyer started out as a survivalist nonfiction blogger, author, and consultant for some of the biggest military and paramilitary organizations in the world such as the FAA, the Department of Homeland Security, and a variety of special operations organizations in American intelligence, which makes him one of the best when it comes to writing in the genre. Unlike your normal survivalist post-apocalyptic novel that for the most part only includes zombies, these novels include other actors such as rogue government agencies, bikers, and the all-important zombies that make for adrenaline-charged narratives. At the end of the day, the novels are all about survival skills that will allow someone to survive off the land in the instance of an apocalypse.

Travis Combs is a supremely talented Special Forces combat veteran and extreme survivalist and lead protagonist in the “First Wave” series of novels. With JT Sawyers history of training special operation’s finest warriors, coming up with a believable character in Travis Combs was not that hard. His lead character’s Combs is a devoted family man that has come back home after tiring of the horrors and endless deployments of the Special Forces. He now just wants to spend the rest of his days with his son. When we are first introduced to Combs, he has taken his son and a few of his friend up the Colorado River for some quiet moments. While they are on their trip, a zombie apocalypse has taken over the country and is spreading fast. A natural leader and a survivalist, he is the ideal man to lead the group that is composed of the antisocial Jim, school principal Evelyn, helicopter LB, ER nurse Katy, and his friend Pete. There are also other minor characters such as Becka and Evan that join the team on their odyssey. Another subplot follows Nikki an ex-military woman, a torture expert that has control over the drug cartels and biker gangs in the aftermath of the apocalypse. Nikki the antagonist is a dark and complex character with her own motivations that the group knows nothing about, which makes her a very unpredictable character. Over the course of the series, Travis Combs leads the team, teaching them survival skills and keeping them together as they make the journey from Colorado to Durango, where they expect to find the antidote.

The novels are set in Flagstaff, Arizona where the author has had many of his consultant training, and guided trips across the mesas, mountains, and canyons that are the setting for many of the novels. Going on guided trips and coming back not knowing what had transpired during the two-day to three-week intervening period is common. This type of scenario sets the tone for the start of the First Wave series of novels, where Travis completes a 22-day Colorado River trip to come back to a world turned upside down by a zombie apocalypse. As opposed to many novels in the genre, these novels make the zombies more of backdrop rather than the core of the series. The main element that drives the series is the relationships between the team members, particularly between the female characters such as Nikki and Travis. The novels are more targeted to the survivalist buffs that would love the gutsy and resourceful protagonist that puts his skills to use in keeping his team together and facing up to a crisis. It is a fresh take from the usual endless savagery, shooting, and gore that are to be found in many survivalist series. However, what makes this series of novels so different from the typical zombie apocalypse novels is the protagonists desire to reunite with his son, no matter what obstacles appear in his path or how long it will take. In this regard, the novel is more like The Odyssey, which is one of the author’s favorite novels.

“First Wave” is a compelling conspiracy narrative that introduces Travis Combs one of the most intriguing survivalist protagonists. Travis is an ex-military man seeking some tranquility in the rugged Colorado wilderness, which he finds by joining a troop rafting down the Colorado. But the trip is ruined when two of the team are bitten by a river ranger. By morning, the bitten members have become mutants, forcing their friends to abandon them and flee the camp. Unaware of what is happening they raft down the river only to find old newspapers with stories of the arrival of zombies, shells of spent cartridges, a town half burned, abandoned vehicles and the dead body of the ranger’s wife. Facing the reality that they are now facing a zombie apocalypse, Travis survival skills are critical if they are to survive in the world that has changed beyond their wildest dreams. It is hard to adjust to the new realities given that they do not only have to deal with zombies but also drug dealers, and bikers that are taking advantage of the chaos to rob and kill.

“The Longest Day” is an exhilarating sequel to the first novel in the series “First Wave”. Travis was once part of a Special Forces Team charged with fighting bio terrorism. Now that zombies have appeared on the scene, he is one of the best people to tackle the pandemic. Meanwhile, Travis is collecting information about their antagonist Nikki’s command center. They now have to fight a war on two fronts as the zombies are swarming into town at the same time, making it crucial for both sides to watch their backs. Believing they have defeated Nikki and her biker and drug dealer lackeys, the mission shifts to finding the source of the mutant virus. But what they do not know is that there is a traitor on the team that has sabotaged their helicopter leading them to crash in the woods. The sequel to the first novel goes into the conspiracy of the origin of the virus and introduces the element of a traitor, which makes for quite an intriguing narrative.

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