by Steven Konkoly writing as Lee West
Book 1 in the Reckoning series (2019)
Joe and Meg Birch have saved for years to take the trip of a lifetime. On the last night of their cruise, while most of the passengers are sleep–the unthinkable occurs. A suspected electromagnetic pulse (EMP) damages most of the cruise ship’s critical systems, forcing the crew to divert the remaining power to essential systems.
While the massive ship struggles in rough seas, the seasick passengers grow increasingly uneasy about their situation. The flow of food and drinks has been significantly reduced, air-conditioning is non-existent and the ship’s security team is visibly armed. What they don’t know is that the ship has lost contact with the mainland, and their Captain is on the verge of making a life-altering decision for all of them.
Skeptical of the conditions onshore and unwilling to pull into the ship’s homeport without the assistance of local pilot craft, the Captain elects to leave the area and seek safe harbor to the south. There’s just one catch. The ship only carries enough food and fuel to last a few more days–and their destination remains uncertain. The geographical scope and magnitude of the damage caused by the mysterious event remains unknown to the crew.
With Joe and Meg’s prospect of returning home about to slip away, the Birch’s face an agonizing choice. Stay with the ship and take a chance on the Captain–or steal a lifeboat and try to return home. Joined by like-minded passengers and a few salty crewmembers, they decide to make their own destiny–despite the unknown dangers.