The Purge is here. New Orleans must die.
Long after the destruction of all electronic technology, the Bright Crusade rules the world as a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. Gabriel Troy is Lord of Order for the New Orleans Principality. For years, he and his deputies have fought to keep their city safe from the attacks of the Crusade’s relentless enemies, the Troublers—heretical guerillas who reject the Crusade’s rule and the church’s strict doctrines. As their crowning achievement, Troy’s forces capture the Troublers’ local leader. The city has never been more secure.
Alarming intelligence leaks from Washington: Supreme Crusader Matthew Rook plans to enact a Purge—the mass annihilation of everyone deemed a threat to the Crusade. Rook orders his forces to round up all but the blindly loyal and march them to New Orleans. Once the prisoners have been chained inside, the Crusaders will wall off the city and destroy the levees. The resulting deluge, reenacting the Biblical deluge of Noah’s time and the city’s devastation during Hurricane Katrina, will kill everyone inside.
Forced to choose between the Crusade and the city he has sworn to protect, Troy and five other conflicted conspirators gird for battle, fully aware that the looming apocalypse will demand horrific choices, test their faith, and require them to join forces with their sworn enemies.
Riley (Comanche) presents a convincingly bleak vision of the future in his latest. Set at a time when "even the word country sounded archaic" given the disarray the United States has fallen into, the story is framed by an unnamed man taking his two children to a cemetery to tell them the story of a generations-old struggle within the cult that has taken over the government. After fundamentalist Christian Jonas Strickland was elected president, he wiped out all of America's electronic technology in an event called the Purge. Now Strickland's successor, Matthew Rook, plans a second Purge, killing all those he considers opposed to his regime. But his plan to convert New Orleans into a prison runs into unexpected resistance from Gabriel Troy, that city's Lord of Order, after Troy learns that the mass incarceration is a prelude to a scheme to annihilate the city. The ensuing violence will be too gory for some readers, but those who stick with it will find Riley has a facility for fast-paced action that keeps the pages turning. Though the worldbuilding is a bit murky, there's plenty to keep readers' attention and enough questions are left open to make a sequel welcome. Those who like their dystopias especially gritty will want to take a look.