When Vice-President-turned-President Wainright dies of a heart attack, everyone thinks the US is without a President. However, the next in line is Secretary of Energy Samuel Sloan. Sloan had been shaking hands at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Mexico when the sky fell. He had managed to get away from the flooding and other effects of a nearby meteor crash by making it to higher ground, but he finds himself captured by an organization moving to divide the southern states into a separate country and keep the large oil reserves that are located there.
Sloan makes a daring escape and, when he happens upon patriots hoping to rebuild America, they work to get Sloan accepted as the new President, which includes a campaign to win hearts and minds. Of course, there will be war. Sloan knows this and knows that there will be casualties, but realizes that it is necessary to reunify the nation. Despite not having a military background, President Sloan is a hands-on guy who insists on fighting beside his troops. That should help win a few hearts and minds.
Meanwhile, First Lieutenant Robin "Mac" Macintyre comes from a military family, but never could please her father, always finding herself outshone by her older sister. Now that disaster has struck, she finds herself in charge of her military unit, with no updates on their orders. They guard their installation, for a while, preventing looters from taking supplies, but eventually they have to come to the conclusion that the centralized army they belonged to is... no more. They decide to become a mercenary group, helping those who need protection and charging only what they need to provide for the soldiers and their families. As for Macintyre's family? She doesn't know their fate. What she eventually discovers, however, will come as quite a shock... and turn her world upside-down.
As William C. Dietz shares his tale of a shaken and broken nation, he shifts focus between different scattered characters as they try to determine what they're going to do now that ...it's hit the fan. As the story progresses, the different characters better define their goals and work toward them and the reader gets a better understanding of how these different players relate to each other. By the end of Into the Guns, you have a pretty good feel for who the characters are and what side they're on, but as you would expect from the first book in a series, it's obvious that there are difficult times ahead for all of them.
I haven't read William C. Dietz's works before (such as the Legion of the Damned novels), but I can see why he has been a bestselling author before. Into the Guns is the first novel in William C. Dietz's new America Rising series and an interesting and delightful read, with a good mix of action, intrigue, and the occasional bit of levity. Further, it's one of those stories that, after you've read it and think back over it, you realize there's a lot to be explained of the events that have already happened. I look forward to reading the next book in the America Rising series. Highly recommended.