cover image The Witch of Hebron

The Witch of Hebron

James Howard Kunstler, Atlantic Monthly, $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1961-2

In the sequel to his bestselling World Made by Hand, Kunstler delivers another grim and suspenseful novel set in a post-oil world without electricity, Internet, or national order. In Union Grove, N.Y., the locals and the New Faithers, a religious order that has moved into an abandoned school, co-exist in an uneasy peace. Jasper Copeland, the teenage son of the town doctor, runs away from Union Grove after he takes revenge on a New Faither's horse that killed his dog, wandering the darkened countryside until he meets a bandit named Billy Bones, who drags him along on a vicious rampage. Meanwhile, back in Union Grove, Jasper's father and friends try to discover what happened to Jasper, while the New Faithers, led by the enigmatic Brother Jobe, learn of the boy's involvement in the horse's death and also want to find him. Kunstler's postapocalyptic world is neither a merciless nightmare nor a starry-eyed return to some pastoral faux utopia; it's a hard existence dotted with adventure, revenge, mysticism, and those same human emotions that existed before the power went out. (Sept.)