Faith, and Surviving the Apocalypse

It is with some chagrin that I admit I do judge many books by their covers. Or their titles. Had my daughter not passed along to me When the English Fall, by David Williams, I most likely would not have given it a second glance. But I read it, and I'm so glad I did.

The story is narrated in first person by a devout Amish farmer named Jacob. He and his family are living in a community in rural Pennsylvania when a massive solar storm gives rise to apocalyptic circumstances for the people on planet Earth. Because of their minimal reliance on technology, the lifestyle of Jacob's family and their Amish neighbors is nowhere near as impacted as that of the "English" -- their name for the non-Amish. But as time goes on, and social order breaks down, bringing the starving and the criminal onto their farms, the Amish are hard-pressed to adapt.

Using as he does the main character to narrate the story through a series of journal entries, author David Williams uses a simple style of storytelling that flows easily, mirroring the spirituality and lifestyle of Jacob, his family, and their neighbors. Jacob turns to prayer over and over again, and it is his faith that sustains him through all their troubles. The Amish willingly share with those in need and struggle with the use of violence to combat violence as gunfire comes closer and closer to their homes, week by week, day by day.

In the end, the Amish make a key decision to ensure their survival, a decision based on divine guidance and the ability of Jacob's daughter to share a vision of a different future. In both good times and bad, it is the faith of these people that sustains them.