The end of the world was just the beginning
Civilization has fallen, leaving California an unforgiving, decimated place. But Cass Dollar beat terrible odds to get her missing daughter back—she and Ruthie will be happy.
Yet with the first winter, Cass is reminded that happiness is fleeting in Aftertime. Ruthie retreats into silence.
Flesh—eating Beaters still dominate the landscape. And Smoke, Cass’s lover and strength, departs on a quest for vengeance, one that may end him even if he returns.
The survivalist community Cass has planted roots in is breaking apart, too. Its leader, Dor, implores Cass to help him recover his own lost daughter, taken by the totalitarian Rebuilders. And soon Cass finds herself thrust into the dark heart of an organization promising humanity’s rebirth—at all costs.
Bound to two men blazing divergent paths across a savage land, Cass must overcome the darkness in her wounded heart, or lose those she loves forever.
After rescuing her 3 year old daughter Ruthie, from a twisted convent, Cass Dollar has settled in at The Box, a survivor settlement, with her lover Smoke. Life is still tough, and Beaters still roam the perimeter, but a semblance of normalcy has come back into their lives, and her bond with Smoke, she thinks, gets stronger all the time. Ruthie is still damaged from her ordeal, and will not speak, but she sometimes cries out in the night, and Cass is hopeful that no permanent damage has been done. When Smoke abruptly sets out on a mission of vengeance, without plans to tell Cass, she finds herself seeking the one person that might be able to help, the enigmatic Dor, leader of The Box. His daughter, Sammi, has also been kidnapped by The Rebuilders¸a group that has no problem killing and pillaging to meet their goals. Dor reluctantly agrees to let Cassie and Ruthie come along, and it’s in this journey that the heart of Rebirth lies.
The title of the book can refer to many things. It can illustrate the earth’s efforts to heal itself after massive devastation, or it can also symbolize Cass’ journey to sobriety and the strong and loving mother that she’s become. It can also highlight Cass’ love of the little garden that she’s cultivated in the box, and her loving and patient coaxing of life from the ravaged ground. Any way you look at it, Rebirth is an unflinching look into the lives of Cass and Dor, two people thrown together in an untenable situation, and pushed to their limits and beyond. Plenty happens in Rebirth, but above all, it is a character study of a damaged woman, and her intense love for her little girl. The author’s narrative is unflinching, honest, and brutal, and yes, there are zombies, but it’s the horrible things that humans do to each other that will have you wincing. Rebirth is not for the faint of heart, and is not a light read, but you’ll be hard pressed to find much better writing in the genre, because it’s excellent, on so many levels. I have no idea how Ms. Littlefield does it, because she mines some very, very dark places of the human heart. However, there’s always a glimmer of light at the end, even in the darkest moments, and that’s what I love about this superb series. I thought she brought the awesome in Aftertime, but Rebirth blew me away. I’ll follow Cass and Ruthie anywhere, and if you haven’t discovered this series yet, pick up Aftertime and see why it’s so, so good, on both a literary scale and in the genre as well. Not to be missed!
Read my review of Aftertime