Can people change? What about in the wake of a terrible disaster?
I think they can and will, but not all of them, and this what The Exiles is all about. Who changed, who didn’t change and what happened afterward as they sought a safe sanctuary.
In this thriller, a well-intentioned thermo-electric energy project at Yellowstone inadvertently triggers a supervolcano eruption that will destroy most of the United States.
In the aftermath of this catastrophe, unlikely groups of people are drawn together as they make their escape. Some people perform unprecedented acts of generosity and bravery, others commit appalling acts of depravity and violence, and some are seemingly unaffected.
This novel chronicles these changes or lack of it in several disparate groups of people as they make their escape to the unspoiled Pacific island of Tuvalu.
It tracks the exploits of a billionaire and his friend that unintentionally initiated the disaster, a busload of children with Down Syndrome, violent convicted killers, virtuous Amish families, dockworkers, deckhands, boat crewmen, Pacific islanders, and even some US Navy enlisted personnel and officers.
The Exiles is a fictional thriller where a well-intentioned thermo-electric energy project at Yellowstone causes a massive supervolcano. In the aftermath of this catastrophe, unlikely groups of people are drawn together as they make their escape. Some people perform unprecedented acts of generosity and bravery, others commit appalling acts of depravity and violence, and some are seemingly unaffected.
The story begins when two former roommates at Stanford John Logan, a software billionaire, and Arthur Price and engineer and inventor, combine their resources to implement a pilot program at Yellowstone. In the process, a supervolcano is inadvertently set off, which will, in time, destroy most of North America. The eruption was not their fault but the consequence of an irresponsible sabotage attempt made under the orders of an oil company cartel.
Although John and Arthur were initially blamed for the disaster and arrested, they are later cleared of all the charges.
To avoid the impending lava onslaught, almost everyone in the United States is desperately trying to escape to Alaska, Northern Canada, Latin America, or other countries. John and Arthur, with their wives, decided to head for the safety of American Samoa on John’s yacht Heirloom.
During the mass exodus, the prison at Sacramento near Folsom is abandoned, and the prisoners are all released. Two lifers Darryl, a huge black man, and his cellmate Ray a smaller black man leave the prison together and head for Sacramento. On their way, they encounter a school bus with a pretty camp counselor, Marlene, and ten Down Syndrome children, which is being attacked by three other convicts intent on ravaging the occupants.
Darryl unexpectedly repels the attackers, and he and Ray become the protectors of the children and Marlene. They all head in the bus together to San Francisco, and eventually, after more skirmishes, they all end up as John’s guests aboard his yacht Heirloom.
Two Amish families living near Portland also decide they need to leave the USA and book passage on a decrepit cargo ship Thalassa leaving from Oakland. One Amish family, the Grabers, consists of the husband and wife and two teenage sons ages 16 and 17. In the second family, the Hiltys, there are the husband and wife plus a 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twin girls. Along with that family is the older brother of the husband, who had made the transportation arrangement.
Besides the Amish families, the other passengers on board Thalassa are twenty-seven loathsome crewmen, dockworkers, and deckhands who, as well as the captain, all openly relish the idea of having sex with the innocent young Amish girls.
A day after departing, Oakland Thalassa is on a route heading for Australia and slowly passes by the yacht Heirloom, which is on a similar course on its way to Samoa.
Later that evening, the Amish mothers and the daughters are repeatedly sexually assaulted by the men on Thalassa. The three Amish men and the older teenage boy are killed in an ensuing valiant attempt to free the girls from their attackers.
The surviving teenage boy and the two women, one being his mother, are rounded up and are cast adrift in a lifeboat. They are rescued shortly afterward by the staff of the Heirloom, who, after learning what had happened on Thalassa, set out in pursuit of it.
When Heirloom overtakes Thalassa, after a brief gunfight, they rescue the elder daughter and retrieve the bodies of the twelve-year-old twin girls who have committed suicide. In retaliation for what the men on Thalassa had done, it is sunk, killing everyone on board.
Instead of going to Samoa, Heirloom diverts to Tuvalu, where according to Marlene, is a Down Syndrome facility. When Heirloom reaches Tuvalu, all the people on board Heirloom are welcomed by the islanders with open arms.
To repay the Tuvaluans for their hospitality, John pays to expand and rebuild the Down Syndrome facility, while all the others that were on board Heirloom help out wherever they can.
When the Tuvaluans learn that bad people are also trying to take sanctuary on Tuvalu, they realize something must be done for their protection. Roger Simms, the captain of Heirloom, a retired Navy Seal Team commander and his crewman Rodney, who was also a US Navy Seal as well as the two black former convicts, are conscripted into the Tuvaluan police force.
The newly enhanced Tuvaluan police force manages to safely neutralize one large group of armed new arrivals. However, they were repelled in a bloody battle with another group of sailors that had forcibly escaped from a brig at Puget Sound before ending up in Tuvalu.
In the end, the Tuvaluans find help, a lot of help from a very unusual and unexpected source.