When the English Fall

A Novel

By David Williams

A riveting and unexpected novel that questions whether a peaceful and non- violent community can survive when civilization falls apart.

Again, all are asleep, but I am not. I need sleep, but though I read and I pray, I feel too awake. My mind paces the floor.

There are shots now and again, bursts here and there, far away, and I cannot sleep. I think of this man in his hunger, shot like a rabbit raiding a garden. For what, Lord? For stealing corn intended for pigs and cattle, like the hungry prodigal helpless in a strange land.

I can hear his voice.


When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community is caught up in the devastating aftermath. With their stocked larders and stores of supplies, the Amish are unaffected at first. But as the English (the Amish name for all non-Amish people) in the cities become increasingly desperate, they begin to invade nearby farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the gentle communities.

Written as the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob who tries to protect his family and his way of life, When the English Fall examines the idea of peace in the face of deadly chaos. Should members of a nonviolent society defy their beliefs and take up arms to defend themselves? And if they do, can they survive?

David Williams’s debut novel is a thoroughly engrossing look into the closed world of the Amish, as well as a thought-provoking examination of how we live today and what remains if the center cannot hold.

Read more

Meet the Author
David Williams headshot

David Williams

More about the author
Review quotes
New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice  A July 2017 Indie Next Pick LibraryReads Selection July 2017 Amazon Top 10 Best Book of the Month

“An apt and original spin on the genre of ‘prepper fiction.’”
New York Times Book Review

"It’s rare to find a debut novel as finely crafted as When the English Fall."
Los Angeles Times

“Entrancing [and] deceptively simple, lulling, holding, at times, the power of prayer.”
Boston Globe

“Williams’ use of tension, suspense, and compression is masterful, calling to mind the distilled prose of Ron Rash. In the past decade, pop culture may have become oversaturated with post-apocalyptic stories, but this one is fresh, unique and unforgettable . . . A quiet, brilliant little novel.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“An unusually good post-apocalyptic novel.”
Christian Science Monitor
 
“A quirky addition to the growing volume of novels that imagine the repercussions of climate change . . . Williams is brilliant at creating a plausible Amish narrator in Jacob.”
Financial Times

“Clever . . . the totality of When the English Fall is surprisingly moving, and Jacob a sympathetic and compelling guide to a world that feels closer every day.”
—Newsday

“A standout among post-apocalyptic novels, as simply and perfectly crafted as an Amish quilt or table. Lyrical and weirdly believable.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A quiet, ideas-focused dystopian novel that will stay with readers long after they have turned the final page.”
Library Journal, starred review

“[A] satisfying post-apocalyptic novel . . . The unique spin draws readers into an alarmingly plausible story of contemporary civilization’s demise.”
Publishers Weekly

“Told in the quiet, simple prose of a quiet, pious man, this is an intriguing take on the dystopian novel.”
Booklist
 
 “Fascinating . . . When the English Fall is a gripping story, with an ending that made me want to go back and read it all again…”
Seira Wilson for Omnivoracious: TheAmazon Book Review

"A fascinating debut."
B&N Sci-Fi blog 
 
When the English Fall takes its place in the landscape of post-collapse survivalist fiction as satisfyingly as a puzzle piece clicking into a gap. You'll read it and wonder how you never realized it was missing. Jacob's determination to remain true to his faith, his struggle to protect his family and aid his neighbors while chaos gathers around him, is both convincing and affecting, and gradually, without ever seeming to grasp for it, his humble, questing voice accrues a surprising power.”
Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
256
Publication date
July 11, 2017
ISBN
9781616205225