William W. Johnstone -- Ashes Series

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Series Synopsis

The Ashes series is fiction, with the events and stories primarily occuring after a Nuclear/Biological war between America, Russia and China. The main character is General Ben Raines, a writer before the war, and the reluctant leader of Raine's Rebels after the war. The Rebels are a collection of like-minded individuals who believe in responsibility, honesty and self-defense. The Rebels set up a autonomous society (The Tri-states) after the war, booting out all of the bleeding heart liberals, welfare cases and criminals, while the remaining residents become citizen-soldiers. The remnants of the federal government are infuriated, and end up invading and detroying the Tri-States, after which the federal government totally collapses and anarchy reigns.

Ben Raines and a select group of Rebels begin again, settling in the Southeast U.S. to establish the Southern United States of America (SUSA), meanwhile scavenging and stockpiling weapons, tanks, planes, and all manner of supplies. Law-abiding, decent Americans flock to the area, swelling the ranks of the Rebels. This is followed by years of fighting gangs, criminals and Night People (Cannibalistic people who mainly congregate in cities, and raise and eat humans). The Rebels end up demolishing many of the great cities of America, but finally finish off most of the Night People and gang activity.

Meanwhile, the former United States is established based on an ultra-liberal model, and various confrontations take place between the US and the SUSA. The ultra-liberal set in the US keep urging the attack and anniahlation of the SUSA, but since the Rebels have almost all of the former equipment of the USA, the existence of the SUSA is assured. Eventually a peace of sorts is reached.

Elsewhere, the United Nations has reformed, and is looking for a force to help re-establish civilization throughout the world. In return for formal recognition of the SUSA, Ben Raines and the Rebels agree to serve as a U.N. force, as long as the fighting is done the Rebel way (no pussyfooting allowed), and the newly freed countries are allowed to take command of their own destinies. With that, the Rebels start the liberation of Europe from the same elements they were used to fighting, aka criminal gangs and the Night People. In addition, they fight a new german dictator of the Fourth Reich, eventually winning, although they suspect that the dictator got away, and is now setting up in Africa.

While finishing off the forces of fascism in Europe, the SUSA is overrun by thugs, criminals and welfare cases. Ben Raines and the Rebels hurry home to clear the invaders from the SUSA, and to begin the hard task of clearing the criminals and Night People from the rubble of America. But while clearing the scum from America, the Rebels encounter a new threat in the form of Simon Border. To millions of men and women, Simon Border is a saint who has the inside track to God. Border has condemned Raines as the Antichrist and has vowed to destroy him, his followers and what remains of America. Although Ben is tiring from all the fighting he has been through, he knows that Border will never be content, and will always be a threat to the SUSA. The Rebels fight Border's forces and triumph.

The rebels get no rest, however, as Ben learns that Bruno Bottger and his neo-Nazi armies are in Southern Africa, and are on the verge of turning Hitler's nightmare into a new reality. Ben knows he must crush this threat to the SUSA before it has a chance to percolate.

And that is where the current books stop.

Author Information

William W. Johnstone was born in Southern Missouri, the youngest of four kids. His father was a minister, his mother a school teacher. He quit school when he was fifteen and joined a carnival, but went back and finished high school in 1957. After that he worked as a deputy sheriff, did a hitch in the army, came back and went into radio broadcasting, where he worked for sixteen years. He loves animals, and has three huskys. His favorite song is probably Claire de Lune. In addition to the Ashes series, He has also authored the Mountain Man series, as well as the Rig Warrior mini-series.

Ashes Series

Out of the Ashes
Published January '83 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821732536)

America has been brought to its knees by nuclear apocalypse. Gangs, looters and vandals have seized the streets. Decent citizens have united and are praying for a leader who can protect them. Luckily, one of the survivors is Ben Raines.
Rebel mercenary, retired soldier and tireless patriot, Raines is searching for his missing family in the aftermath of a devastating war. His relentless pursuit through the ruined cities of the West unites him with the civilians of the Resistance forces. They become his recruits--his revolutionary army dedicated to rebuilding America and creating a new vision for the future. Then comes the final outrage: an armed attack by government forces. The fate of America's New Patriots hangs in the balance and--the government be damned--Raines vows he will survive, find his family, and lead his country.

Fire in the Ashes
Published January '84 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821713108)

It is the year 1999. The world as we know it no longer exists--it was destroyed in the fires of nuclear holocaust. Among the survivors is Ben Raines, a retired soldier and mercenary--and the only man alive trained to lead the Resistance and build a new America. But as the Rebels' greatest adversary, the U.S. government, crushes their dreams, Raines and his army must prepare for bloody guerrilla combat--and an unavoidable civil war. Now, as brother turns against brother, an even greater peril awaits them: a new, indestructible breed of post-apocalyptic enemies who threaten to take over the new world and turn it into a hell on Earth...

Anarchy in the Ashes
Published June '84 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821713876)

In the aftermath of germ and nuclear warfare, of plague and pillage and bloody anarchy, the fate of a divided world hangs by a slender thread. Ben Raines and his SUSA Rebels are on one side...the enemies of freedom are on the other. There's only a slim chance America will make it, but it's a chance that wasn't there before. And Ben Raines has sworn to make the dream of government by the people a reality.
Until ruthless mercenary Sam Hartline puts together a mammonth army of invading Russians that could not only decimate Raines' Rebel forces but crush the dream that was--and is--America.

Blood in the Ashes
Published February '85 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821715372)

A bloodthirsty religious cult called the Ninth Order is spreading a doctrine of hate across the land. They're soulless and sadistic, and they're sending their armies of fanatics against Raines and his Rebels...plotting treachery wihtin his own ranks. If their terrible plan succeeds, Ben Raines will die...and so will all his bright dreams for the future of America.

Alone in the Ashes
Published November '85 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821740199)

In this hellish new order after the nuclear holocaust, there are devils leading armed gangs of marauders; they have names like Cowboy Vic and Texas Red, and they bring destruction wherever they go. When Raines is cut off from his SUSA Rebel forces, he becomes their prey--a special target for their frenzy and bloodlust. From Georgia to West Texas, from Colorado to Idaho, Raines must stay one step ahead of death...until he decides it's time to turn and fight.

Wind in the Ashes
Published December '86 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821732579)

From his secret outpost in the far west, Raines orders his Rebels to back him in one last desperate assault against the Russian invaders and the mercenary turncoat, Sam Hartline, who joined their brutal brigade. But until reinforcement arrives, Raines is forced to wage a one-man guerilla war against the enemy. It could be the first step toward a free America--or the kamikaze warrior's final showdown.

Smoke from the Ashes
Published October '87 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821727788)

The power-mad Libyan terrorist, Khamasin, has already begun his bloodthirsty assault on America's southern tier. But an even deadlier threat lurks in the plague-ridden ruins of the country's once-great cities: the Night People--crazed, flesh-eating packs of mutants in searhc of fresh, human kill. Facing assault from two mortal enemies, Ben Rainses and his Rebels are in for the battle of their lives. But the do-or-die freedom fighters are willing to face Hell on Earth to strike a blow for America's survival.

Danger in the Ashes (Ashes, No 8)
Published March '88 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821723111)

The bloody war continues against the hordes of subhuman cannibals infesting the urban wasteland. But Raines and his rebel forces encounter an even greater threat to their dream of a new America as a reawakened Ku Klux Klan sows the poisonous seeds of ignorance and prejudice. This hideous scourge must be eradicated at all costs, either through education...or annihilation. For Ben Raines knows that of all the threats to mankind's survival, blind and brutal hatred is the deadliest...

Valor in the Ashes (Ashes, No 9)
Published October '88 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821724843)

Leaving a small rear-guard detachment at their home base in Louisiana, Ben Raines and his rebel army begin an overload expedition to New York City--the armed citadel of the cannibalistic mutants known as the Night People. For Raines and his rebels, it means clearing skyscrapers floor by floor and stalking endless labyrinths of underground tunnels--a perilous search-and-destroy mission that will decide the fate of freedom's cause!

Trapped in the Ashes (Ashes, No 10)
Published April '89 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821726269)

Trapped in the smoking rubble of what was once New York City, Ben and his ragged band of followers are beset by overwhelming odds. The terrorist Khasmin is marching north to join the cannibalistic Night People and the forces of Sister Velora, with the final annihilation of Ben's holdout army as their goal. Defeat seems a certainty. But Ben Raines has faced overwhelming odds and has made tough, crucial decisions before. Now, he must muster what forces he has to strike one hard, crushing blow or America will die, taking the last hope of freedom with it.

Death in the Ashes (Ashes, 11)
Published March '90 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821729225)

The war against the Night People continues as Ben Raines and his rebel army set forth on a scorched-earth policy, systematically destroying the favorite living places of the cannibalistic mutants--the once great cities of America--and forcing the half-human, half-hellborn monsters into the open. But as the rebel mop-up team pushes through the smoking rubble that once was Dallas, Ben Raines comes within a hair's breadth of being shot and killed by a death squad dispatched by a warlord headquarters near Custer's Battlefield in Montana. Like Ben, Matt Callahan was a writer before the Great War; unlike Ben, Matt has turned to outlawing. Now Ben must go north and the two old friends will face each other in hand-to-hand combat--and one more bloody last stand would be fought on the banks of the Little Big Horn to decide the fate of freedom's cause.

Survival in the Ashes (Ashes, No 12)
Published August '90 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821730983)

Raines and his freedom-fighting guerrillas are camped along the banks of what was once the Mississippi River, plotting strategy and readying weapons. A massive pack of heavily armed troops looms on the horizons, marching straight for the Rebels. They are the insidious mercenaries of Kenny Par and Lan Viller, and by midday only the Mississippi separates Raines from the ten thousands blood-hungry warriors all sworn to turning the Rebel's dream into a hellish nightmare. Just as Ben formulates a brilliant battle plan, a Rebel scout reports that the fanatical assassins of Sister Volenta's Ninth Order are approaching from Ben's back. The Rebels will be surrounded by freedom's deadliest foes. A defeat for Raines means the end of the Rebel dream--and an America reborn!

Fury in the Ashes (Ashes, No 13)
Published February '91 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821733168)

It had been the cruelest joke ever played on the men and women who survived the Great War. The politicians had lied. The vast metropolises of America's West Coast had become bastions of evil--seemingly impregnable strongholds for hordes of mutuant Night People and thousands of well-trained, well-armed punk street gangs eager to fight all those who threatened their empires of lust and murder. It is up to Ben Raines and his army to mop up California--from San Francisco to Los Angeles and annihilate the forces of world anarchy--to strike a final blow for freedom's cause and make any sacrifice necessary so that humankind might survive the Fury in the Ashes.

Courage in the Ashes (Ashes, No 14)
Published November '91 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821735748)

Ben's dream of a country freed from the deadly grip of outlaw gangs and armies of terrorist is close to becoming a reality. Most of the forces of lust and murder that chose to remain in the lower forty-eight have been wiped out. Those warlords, thugs and punks who survived the purge have taken their gangs north to the untamed wilderness of Alaska for one last showdown with America's famed soldier and survival expert. Raines and his rebel soldiers follow in close pursuit--until a sniper's bullet crashes into Ben's chest. Knowing this may be their only chance, the outlaw armies prepare to make one final all-out counter-attack on the forces of freedom whose leader lies near death--and the future of a free America suddenly hangs in the balance.

Terror in the Ashes
Published May '92 by Zebra Books (ISBN 082173749X)

Having reclaimed America soil from the savage armies of terrorist, lawless punk street gangs and mutant Night People who once ruled the land, Raines and his Rebel army turn to the tyrannized peoples across the sea who also dream of freedom. Their first mission: the liberation of the British Isles from the nightmare of evil oppression.
After Rebel invasion forces establish a successful beachhead at the Irish seaport of Galway, Raines orders a massive armored spearhead assault east to drive the mercenary army of the insidious warlord Jack Hunt into the Irish Sea. The Rebels' search-and-destroy mission crushes enemy resistance...but reinforcements for Hunt's crumbling army that cross the British Channel from Europe bring with them the most hideous foe Ben Raines has ever faced: bubonic plague. He and his Rebels must choose between saving themselves or sacrificing their cause their cause to save the lives of innocent civilians trapped in a beleaguered land--a decision that will decide the future of the free world!

Vengeance in the Ashes (Ashes No. 16)
Published February '93 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821740660)

While in the Hawaiian Islands ending the rule of slavers, thugs and the cannibalistic Night People, Ben Raines and his rebel army learn of a new threat to their homeland. A grim spectre from the past--an army of Nazis led by the maniacal Jesus Dieguez Mendoza Hoffman--is marching through South America toward the vulnerable heartland of America. Not content to crush America, Hoffman has singled out Ben Raines for a hideous fate. Now, with the famed warrior a prisoner, his life hanging in the balance, only the outnumbered but undefeated Rebels stand in the way of the terrorist-trained Death's Head battalions bent on the destruction of the once proud land of liberty and freedom!

Battle in the Ashes
Published May '93 by Kensington (ISBN 0821741616)

Chilling rumors of a new Nazi movement reach the rebel camp of Ben Raines and his freedom fighters. Led by descendants of Hitler's Third Reich, Commanding General Jesus Mendoza Hoffman has assembled a massive army in the mountains of South America. Estimated at more than 200,000 strong, Hoffman and his New Army of Liberation terrorist will stop at nothing to spread their doctrine of evil across the free world. Striking northward, they march into Mexico, where the Mexican Army--under the command of General Payon--is no match for Hoffman's invaders. And now, as the doomsday forces turn Texas into a beleaguered battleground, Raines and his troops must fight to prevent America from erupting in a holocaustic bloodbath of atrocity and death that threatens the future of the world!

Flames from the Ashes
Published August '93 by Kensington (ISBN 0821742639)

The evil Jesus Mendoza Hoffman, descendent of one of the most infamous Nazi of all time, and his fanatical New Army of Liberation pose a dire threat to the new world--and Ben Raines' rebel forces. With his massive army crushing everything in its path, Hoffman is spreading his chilling doctrine of death and destruction from Mexico to the Canadian border. Outnumbered and outarmed, Raines and his men are no match against the black-shirt guerrilla forces. And when Raines is captured, the Nazi exterminator gives the rebels an ultimatum: surrender or Raines dies. Against impossible odds, Raines' followers must infiltrate Hoffman's troops and put an end to his brutal reign of terror before Ben Raines and his dream of freedom are annihilated forever!

Treason in the Ashes
Published April '94 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821745212)

The last vestiges of law and government have disappeared. Terrorist armies rampage across the tragic landscape that once was America. Only the brave, the powerful, and the fanatical survive...
General Ben Raines rises out of the killing fields with a daring vision of a new world order to challenge the enemy who has only one agenda: Total Annihilation.

D-Day in the Ashes
Published August '94 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821746502)

General Ben Raines and his proud, indomitable army of Rebels weren't cut out to be international peacekeepers. But the whole world watched with awe, admiration, and terror as Raines and his followers fought the take-no-prisoners battle for justice and liberty...and cut down the last bastion of lawlessness in North America. Now, they've been called up to deliver order to a planet in chaos. Raines will take the job, on one condition.
He'll do it his way--all the way.

Betrayal in the Ashes
Published April '96 by Zebra Books (ISBN 0821752650)

As American continues its struggle to rise from the ashes of apocalypse, Europe is slowly dying. Bruno Bottger, the Neo-Nazi monster, has brought forth a new Reich. There is no force in Europe that has a chance of stopping him. Only one force in what's left of the world can do the job--Ben Raines and the SUSA Rebels.

Chaos in the Ashes
Published November '96 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786003413)

While finishing off the forces of fascism in Europe, the SUSA is overrun by thugs, criminals and welfare cases. Ben Raines and the Rebels hurry home to clear the invaders from the SUSA, and to begin the hard task of clearing the criminals and Night People from the rubble of America.

Slaughter in the Ashes
Published April '97 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786003804)

The punks, thugs and creeps have had a free hand for too long--especially in untamed Northern Maine, where a secret sect of underground cannibals threatens the new nation's freedom. It's time for them all to meet judge, jury...and executioner.
If the new U.S. President agrees, Ben Raines and his Rebels will clear the land of the scum that have made life a living hell for hard-working, law-abiding citizens. But the gentle white snow that begins to fall is the first hint of what will be the hardest winter in years, and the deep woods hold more than a few surprises...as Ben Raines and his SUSA army take on their greatest challenge of all.

Judgement in the Ashes
Published April '97 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 078600438?)

To millions of men and women, Simon Border is a saint who has the inside track to God. But to Ben Raines, Border is a dangerous hypocrite with an army of true believers who'll do anything they're ordered to do-like go on a holy war against Raines and the SUSA Rebels.
Border has condemned Raines as the Antichrist and has vowed to destroy him, his followers and what remains of America. As the rabid religious leader puts into place the final piece of a chilling plan, Raines is going to need a miracle to stop him-and survive.

Anarchy in the Ashes - Reprint
Published July 1, 1997 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786004193)
Blood in the Ashes - Reprint
Published September 1, 1997 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786004460)
Alone in the Ashes - Reprint
Published November 1, 1997 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786004584)
Wind in the Ashes - Reprint
Published January 1, 1998 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786004789)
Ambush in the Ashes
Published February '98 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786004819)

In the ashes of the apocalypse, Ben Raines and his Rebels face a new obstacle: the anarchists and barbarians who seek to destroy what's left of the Red, White and Blue. But their depraved ideology isn't restricted to the new America. They're contaminating the whole damn world...
From Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Egypt, Ben Raines' fearless battalions are positioned to advance. Their destination: Southern Africa. Their mission: free it from the domination of Bruno Bottger and his neo-Nazi armies. The seasoned SS combat stompers are on the verge of turning Hitler's nightmare into a new reality. But that means taking on Raines and his Rebels first. And no one who has ever tried, has ever survived...

From the Ashes: America Reborn
Published April '98 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786004908)

The Complete Guide to the Ashes Series and the Tri-States Manifesto.

Danger in the Ashes - Reprint
Published May '98 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786005165)
Valor in the Ashes - Reprint
Published July '98 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786005262)
From the Ashes: America Reborn
Published April '97 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786004908)
Trapped in the Ashes - Reprint
Published September 1998 by Penguin USA (ISBN 0786005629)
Triumph in the Ashes
Published October '98 by Penguin USA (ISBN 0786005815)

Led by power-hungry lunatic Bruno Bottger, germ warfare strategy has turned African civilians into killing machines with no conscience and no mercy. With millions already wreaking havoc, it's up to Ben Raines and his Rebels to bravely defend a country under siege. Now, Ben and his men are outnumbered ten to one by Bottger's heavily-armed troops. But Raines has a weapon nobody counted on: his own vision for the future--and a do-or-die determination to see it come true.

Survival in the Ashes - Reprint
Published January '99 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786006137)
Hatred in the Ashes
Published February '99 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786006161)

While Ben Raines and his Rebel army have triumphed in Africa, America has been consumed in the flames of anarchy. After a terrifying civil war, the Commander-In-Chief has vanished, a new constitution has been born, and a power mad president has soared to infamy. Dead or alive, she wants Raines brought down for crimes of treason. But Raines has the men, the weapons, and the guts to start his own bloody revolution!

Vengeance in the Ashes - Reprint
Published September '99 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786010134)
Battle in the Ashes - Reprint
Published October '99 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786010282)
Standoff in the Ashes
Published October '99 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786010150)
Tyranny in the Ashes
Published September '00 by Pinnacle Books (ISBN 0786011467)

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William W. Johnstone -- Ashes Series / Revised September 2000