Book Cover Photo from

Book Cover Photo from

THE RULE OF THREE by Eric Walters is a phenomenal read.

The back cover reads: “A person can last: * 3 minutes without air
* 3 days without water * 3 weeks without food. A community begins to DIE in just seconds.”

This book is being marketed as a Young Adult novel, however I believe the potential readership for this book is much broader than that.

Our society relies so heavily on electricity and computers that should these systems fail, we are all in desperate trouble. This book follows one family and their community who experience just such a disaster.

Adam Daley is sixteen and attending high school. While helping his slacker friend, Todd, finish an essay, the school’s power goes out and the computers shut down. What at first seems like a lucky break and a way to get out of school for the day, quickly takes a more serious turn. Cell phones no longer work. Street lights and all other electricity run gadgets are out of commission and most cars will no longer start. The only vehicles that seem to be working are those that are older and have no computer chips. Everyday life is at a standstill.

Adam’s mother is the local Police Chief and she has to take charge of the community. That leaves Adam in charge of his two younger twin siblings.

At first, everyone is confidant that the power will be restored quickly and people work together. When the situation stretches to days, people start to panic and there is looting and a near riot at the local grocery store.

Adam’s father is a pilot who is thousands of miles away when the crisis begins.

Herb, their next door neighbor, is a retired government spy who has some surprising skills and who is essential in helping the family and their community keep one step ahead of the crisis.

Herb is easily my favorite character. Who expects a frail, old man to be a legitimate threat? His background is murky and he keeps his personal details closely guarded. Herb knows how to trick people into believing he is harmless, at least until he pulls a gun on them. He is knowledgable about situations in which the civilized world falls away. I like that he is a cynic, but that he tries hard to have hope. I also love the fact that he is prepared. His basement is full of supplies and even though he does not have to, he shares everything with Adam and his family.

As the book goes on and as people become more and more desperate, they become more and more violent and find themselves doing things that they would never even contemplate under normal circumstances. Violence is inevitable.

What would you be willing to do to protect and to provide for your family? Would you steal? Would you threaten someone? Would you kill someone? These are just a few of the questions that face the people in this book.

The details and challenges that Adam and his family face are so realistic that it is easy to imagine this scenario actually happening. It’s believability is what makes this book so terrifying.

If this situation were ever to actually occur, I will definitely be thrilled to have this book on hand to use as a reference and a source of ideas.

I was unable to stop reading this book. It is riveting. A wild ride through the human psyche that had me cheering on Adam and his family. It gives the reader hope that even in a crisis, the better side of human nature can prevail.

I highly recommend reading this book.

I give this an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars.


This is the author featured on a poster for the Mississauga Library Association - Photo obtained from

This is the author featured on a poster for the Mississauga Library Association – Photo obtained from

Eric Walters is one of Canada’s best known and most prolific writers of fiction for children and young adults. His books have won over 100 awards, including eleven separate Children’s Choice Awards, and have been translated into thirteen languages. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario, and is the founder of Creation of Hope, a charity that provides care for orphans in the Mbooni district of Kenya.


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