Title: Ashen Winter
Author: Mike Mullin
First published October 16, 2012
576 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781933718750 (ISBN10: 1933718757)
In the aftermath of the Yellowstone supervolcano, Alex and Darla have been struggling to survive in a world turned primitive. With Alex’s parents still missing, they set out on a dangerous journey to Iowa to find them.
But the world they knew no longer exists, replaced by a barren wasteland where survival is a constant battle. As they make their way across this new landscape, they encounter ruthless communities vying for control of what little resources remain.
When tragedy strikes, Alex must dig deep to find the strength to survive and protect those he loves. Ashen Winter is a gripping tale of resilience and determination in the face of unimaginable adversity.
About the Author
When Mike Mullin was in high school, his first gig was scraping gum off of the undersides of desks. And, unfortunately, things didn’t get much better from there.
He almost lost his job at a bookstore because of his questionable taste in earrings. He even worked at a place that showed pictures of dirty diapers during lunch, in an effort to save money.
At his next job, he was hazed by being forced to eat live termites raised by the resident entomologist – not a pleasant experience. Eventually, he worked at a wine shop where he tried to juggle bottles, but it didn’t always go well.
And, to top it all off, he once had a job where he was constantly chased by angry wasps while on ladders.
Despite all this, Mike is hopeful that his writing career will be a success. He is a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo and shares his home in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats.
His debut novel, ASHFALL, is now available.
In his second novel, Ashen Winter, Mike Mullin continues the story he began in his debut novel, Ashfall, with visceral realism and unflinching intensity. Published in October 2012, Ashen Winter is a post-apocalyptic thriller that explores the aftermath of a catastrophic volcanic eruption that plunges the world into darkness and despair.
Mullins gripping prose transports the reader to a world where survival is as much about luck as skill, and where the bonds of family and friendship are tested to the breaking point. Mullin is a master of his craft, seamlessly blending genres and styles to create a narrative that is both compelling and thought-provoking.
His characters are richly drawn, with complex motivations and well-realized backstories that make them feel like real people rather than cliched archetypes. The setting of the novel is similarly detailed, with Mullins meticulous research and attention to detail creating a world that is both vivid and believable.
The plot of Ashen Winter picks up where Ashfall left off, with our protagonist, Alex, still struggling to survive in a world that has been devastated by the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alongside his new companion, Darla, Alex sets out on a perilous journey to find his family, facing bandits, cannibals, and other dangers along the way.
The tension never lets up, and Mullins pacing is expertly calibrated to keep the reader engaged from start to finish. At its heart, Ashen Winter is a book about survival, but its also a book about human resilience and the unexpected ways in which people can come together in times of crisis.
Mullins exploration of the relationships between his characters is both tender and brutal, and he manages to create moments of genuine emotion without ever resorting to sentimentality. If the book has any flaws, its that at times the plot can feel overly predictable, with certain twists and turns telegraphed well in advance.
Additionally, while the characters are for the most part well-rounded, there are moments when they can feel a bit too driven by plot than by their own desires or motivations. However, these criticisms are minor in the grand scheme of things.
Ashen Winter is a powerful and engaging read, and one that is sure to appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival thrillers alike. Its a book that speaks to our current moment, offering a vision of a world that has been overturned by events beyond our control, and showing us that even in the darkest of times, there is always the hope of a better future.
In conclusion, Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin is an excellent novel that is well worth the read. With its strong characters, intense action, and compelling themes, its a book that is sure to stick with readers long after theyve finished it.
I give it a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys smart, socially-conscious fiction that doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of human nature.