When the English Fall: Book summary and reviews of When the English Fall by David Williams

When the English Fall

by David Williams

When the English Fall by David Williams X
When the English Fall by David Williams
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Book Summary

A riveting and unexpected novel that questions whether a peaceful and nonviolent community can survive when civilization falls apart.

When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community in Pennsylvania is caught up in the devastating aftermath. Once-bright skies are now dark. Planes have plummeted to the ground. The systems of modern life have crumbled. With their stocked larders and stores of supplies, the Amish are unaffected at first. But as the English (the Amish name for all non-Amish people) become more and more desperate, they begin to invade Amish farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the peaceable community.

Seen through the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob as he tries to protect his family and his way of life, When the English Fall examines the idea of peace in the face of deadly chaos: Should members of a nonviolent society defy their beliefs and take up arms to defend themselves? And if they don't, can they survive?

David Williams's debut novel is a thoroughly engrossing look into the closed world of the Amish, as well as a thought-provoking examination of "civilization" and what remains if the center cannot hold.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A standout among post-apocalyptic novels, as simply and perfectly crafted as an Amish quilt." - Kirkus

"The unique spin draws readers into an alarmingly plausible story of contemporary civilization's demise." - Publishers Weekly

"When the English Fall takes its place in the landscape of post-collapse survivalist fiction as satisfyingly as a puzzle piece clicking into a gap. You'll read it and wonder how you never realized it was missing. Jacob's determination to remain true to his faith, his struggle to protect his family and aid his neighbors while chaos gathers around him, is both convincing and affecting, and gradually, without ever seeming to grasp for it, his humble, questing voice accrues a surprising power." - Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

"A fascinating debut." - B&N Sci-Fi blog

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Reader Reviews

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Becky H

A good dystopian book with heart
This not your usual “end of the world” book. It is a LOT better! An Amish community is well prepared when a solar storm knocks out all machinery worldwide. But the English (anyone not Amish) begin to run out of food and their money becomes worthless, civil society breaks down. The Amish are called to help. When they do, their closed community is affected as never before.
Written entirely from the viewpoint of Jacob, an Amish farmer who lives near several large cities, the book explores the challenges and fears of a community that wants to avoid “the English” and their worldly ways. Written with sympathy for both groups and displaying an intimate knowledge of the Amish, the book is a look into the future of a disaster. The one quibble with the book is a weak ending.

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Author Information

David Williams

David Williams is a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church. He lives in Annandale, Virginia. When the English Fall is his first novel.

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