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Good Literature for Children & Adults


The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

I have just spent the day with a book that has left me drained, both exhausted and thrilled. The Rule of Three by Eric Walters is the first in a trilogy for teenage readers – the second will follow later this year, and the third in 2015.


Eric Walters is a well-known and prolific Canadian writer of books for teenagers - and I believe The Rule of Three is his best yet. In a genre overflowing with horrifying (and some horrifyingly bad) end of the world books The Rule of Three is ultimately a very positive book in which the teenage hero, Adam, uses his own resources to become one of the leaders of his community.

The cast of characters, led by Adam Daley and his neighbor, Herb Campbell, are realistic, appealing and completely engaging.

It is Herb Campbell who tells Adam about the rule of three, “You can go without air for 3 minutes, without water for 3 days, and without food for 3 weeks”. “Beyond that you’re dead”. It will be up to Herb and Adam, and their neighbours, to make sure that does not happen.

It is late spring – in our own time – when everything stops. Computers, cell phones, all vehicles except those built before computerized automobiles. Everything that runs on electricity or battery power ceases to work.

Remember the power failure we experienced a few years ago? Maybe you were at the cottage and thought it was just a local outage that often occur – but imagine if the power had not been restored – imagine if it became clear that it was not a localized outage but possibly – probably – a world wide “catastrophic virus”. Extrapolate, and extrapolate some more, and you have the beginning of a page turning novel that will keep even the most jaded teenager on the edge of his or her seat. By page 30 I was already starting to feel anxious – frightened – by the stark reality of the situation these characters found themselves in as life begins to change in their suburban neighbourhood.

 Adam’s father is a pilot – away from home – and his mother is a senior police officer, he has younger siblings, twins. Herb is the new next-door neighbour – and it turns out he has worked all over the world in places of conflict and danger. It is Herb who becomes the leader when it is clear that everyone in the neighbourhood must band together in order to survive.

I was half way through this book when I was struck by how good it really is. Eric Walters is a very experienced writer, there is no doubt that he is very good at his chosen craft, but he also has that extra something that makes a book something special for the reader. Michael Morpurgo is one of my favorite writers for young readers, and I found in Eric Walters’s novel the same portrayal of teenagers who are resourceful both emotionally and physically, and find within themselves the ability and the strength to survive when it becomes necessary. There is plenty of suspense and adventure in this novel, and just enough romance. I was also struck by how positive this “end of the world as we know it” novel really is, as the characters work together to survive and to face the challenges that will no doubt come.

When Eric Walters came into Parry Sound Books to introduce himself, and tell me he’d recently purchased a cottage in the area, I was very pleased to arrange a book signing.


Eric Walters will be at Parry Sound Books on Saturday 26 July from 1-3 pm to sign books, talk about his work, and introduce himself to our community. Please come out and welcome him to Parry Sound and pick up some great summer reading for the teenagers in your life. 

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