Resurrection is the second novel in the Remnant heptalogy, a series centered around an alternate history in which American society has collapsed from a civil war between citizens and the government. It was self-published by its author Michael Clements on December 9, 2016.
The novel focuses on the Krohn family, during a brief time when peace has returned to Portland, Oregon. The novel is also a prequel, depicting Ethan’s life, from his point of view, starting 20 years before the events of Remnant. In Resurrection, Lilith Krohn, sister of Ethan and boss of the clan, aggressively acquires ultimate power over the city, which gradually pushes Ethan to abandon her.
In September 1992, Ethan comes home from school and spends time with his single mother, who tries to ignore the fact it is her thirty-first birthday. After spending time with her, he runs off to find his twin sister, Eva, in a forest close to home, where she has discovered a homeless person’s tent. Ethan persuades her to come back to the house. Later that night, the house is broken into by Bryan, the twins’ half-brother. Bryan demands that Mary intercede on his behalf to the Matriarchs, with whom she has a relationship, because they are hunting him. Mary refuses. The twins attempt to protect their mother as Bryan proceeds to attack her, but fail, and Ethan’s mother is killed right before his eyes. Bryan kidnaps Eva before he escapes.
Ethan is put in a foster home, but runs away one night, hiding in the tent Eva had discovered. Later that night, Eva finds him there, having manipulated Bryan into letting his guard down, allowing her to poison him and escape. The twins promise each other to never open their heart to anyone else, and to always be together no matter what. Then, Eva persuades Ethan that they should live in downtown Portland for the rest of their lives. They take a MAX train toward the inner city, but must get off early when they are nearly discovered by security.
They camp next to a park that night, and stumble upon a man called ‘Pops’ who was returning home for the night from drug-dealing. He invites the twins to stay with him. They are nearly discovered by friends of Pops and run away. As time passes, and anonymity and survival become increasingly difficult, they return to Pops, offering to help with his drug dealing if in exchange he provides them with food and supplies. He agrees, and the twins do this as their job for the next three months, living in an abandoned building. One night, however, Eva lets it slip that Pops has molested her, and when she doesn’t display any negative emotions about it, Ethan has a meltdown, attacking his sister without realizing it.
Ethan allows themselves to be exposed to get Eva to a hospital. While there, though, Phoebe Krohn visits them, revealing that she’s been watching over them, keeping unwanted attention away from them, and is highly impressed with their tenacity. She expresses remorse for not preventing their mother’s death, and agrees to adopt them to make up for her failure.
Eva changes her name to Lilith after adoption. After several months, Ethan finds ways to occupy his time with their new family, but never gets any happier with the situation. Phoebe arranges for their cousin Kayla (related through their estranged father) to move close, so that they have real family to be with.
Years later, Ethan reads a letter from Kayla, where she describes the strenuous relationship she’s had with her parents and with her twin cousins, and says she’s depressed and is giving up on happiness. Ethan gets one of Phoebe’s men to help him investigate and locate her, discovering she became a prostitute. Ethan works hard to persuade Kayla to give up prostitution, but to no avail. Finally, when Kayla’s pimp beats her one night, Ethan abducts her with help from their mutual friend Andrew.
They take Kayla to Phoebe’s eldest sister Natasha. She reluctantly allows Ethan to take care of Kayla until she’s healed. Ethan’s actions violated peace terms between Phoebe’s clan and Carrie Marsden, and as a result, both bosses allow Kayla’s pimp to hunt Ethan as long as neither receives help from made members of either clan. So, while Kayla is healing, Ethan is also in hiding. Luckily, his sister Lilith works hard to find a way to save Ethan from his predicament. While in hiding, Kayla transitions from being hostile toward Ethan to falling in love with him, despite being cousins.
Lilith discovers that Kayla’s pimp is part of a network of underworld fugitives. Uncovering this plot earns Lilith the leverage to bring Ethan back to the city. There’s more to the situation: their half-brother Bryan is part of the network, and because of this, Ethan requests Bryan not be killed when the Matriarchs kill them.
After returning to Portland, Ethan discovers that Kayla is pregnant, but with their friend Andrew’s child. Kayla’s reasoning for sleeping with Andrew was that she was at war with herself over her feelings for her cousin. Though angry with Kayla, Ethan agrees to take care of the child, because Andrew doesn’t want to, nor feels he is equipped to.
During Kayla’s pregnancy, Ethan is taught by Kayla’s former colleagues how to be a pimp. He chooses this job so that he can take care of broken people, and to be only minimally connected to the Krohn family business. After nine months, Ethan comes to feel that Bryan will be a threat to his family as long as he is alive. So, before Kayla’s child is born, he brings Lilith and some of their mob peers along to kill Bryan. Ethan hesitates, and nearly backs down, until Lilith degrades him for always being a weakling. After killing Bryan, Ethan is emotionally broken. Their friend Shane gives him the nickname ‘Ghost’ when Lilith mentions how Ethan seemed to die the night their mother died. Then, they receive news that Kayla has gone into labor. Lilith pressures Ethan not to take care of her child, but Ethan chooses to.
At the hospital, Ethan falls in love with the baby girl Kayla had when he first sees her. He names her Theia Elani, meaning ‘Goddess of Light,’ because he intuitively knows she will grow up to a wonderful person (and because of her bright blonde hair).
Lilith meets with Scarlet Lancaster, the sister of Phoebe. Scarlet, having been defeated a second time in the previous novel by Ethan, gives up all of her forces to Lilith, having lost the spirit to continue fighting.
Lilith locates Ethan living in a partially-complete barge. She takes him home and nurtures him back to full health.
Theia sneaks out one night, in an attempt to conquer her fear of the night. She witnesses a man commit suicide, and because of this, she asks to go with Mercy (who works with the military) whenever she leaves town next. Theia is told about one of the leaders of the Resistance against the military, Paul Ritter, and begs to speak to him. Colonel Corwin agrees to allow it since it won’t hurt anything, and to perhaps remain on good terms with Ethan, who is their man on the inside of the mob’s dealings. Theia’s meeting makes her question what she thinks she knows about good versus evil.
Paul Ritter is brought to Portland, where he, along with Marcus Solomon, is publicly executed. Immediately following the execution, a large mob attacks the troops, angry that they executed a man they favored.
Theia stays south of Portland a little longer, with Mercy. There, she is reunited with a girl, Sophie, whom she met as hostages of Marcus Solomon in the previous novel. They become friends. Sophie explains the troubled past she’s had since the Collapse. It seems they will have a strong friendship based on trust, but then Sophie unexpectedly rejects Theia, which breaks her heart. Following an attack on the compound at which they’re staying, Theia starts to mentally break down for the first time.
Though the military thinks there maybe hasn’t been enough time to heal, school still starts back up for kids. Theia attends school after returning to Portland. Unfortunately, she is triggered by numerous statements other kids make, and especially when some kids bully another. Theia snaps, attacking the bullies, then she blacks out.
Mercy is forced to put Theia in an institute, until she’s stable again. There, Theia meets Jeremy, the brother of Sophie. Jeremy has his own outburst, but Theia shows no fear and even subdues Jeremy when he lashes out at her. Later, it seems Theia earned his respect and Jeremy finally tells her about his family. Getting along with Jeremy makes Theia stable again and boosts her spirit. She returns home with Mercy.
Lilith meets with the Matriarchs. Together, they agree not to be further involved in the war between the people and the troops. However, Lilith begins her campaign of seizing power by first targeting Dante Loper, the man who had succeeded Tabitha Verbeck and helped Lilith kill her.
Lilith meets with Rosalind Kershaw, a leader of the people who is widely popular. She wants Kershaw to stay out of her way while she’s seizing power, and claims it’s all for the sake of peace if there is only one ruling force in the region. Kershaw rejects this at first.
Lilith waits for the military to move against Carrie Marsden, the last standing Matriarch. While waiting, Ethan finally chooses to disown her, saying that she’s gone too far this time, and he can’t tolerate her insanity any longer.
Once the military makes its move, Lilith makes hers, ambushing the army while they were still exhausted. She captures both Carrie and the Colonel. Carrie dies in the cell, but Colonel Corwin is rescued by Ethan and brought to the militarized zone where Theia and Mercy reside.
Ethan comes to Mercy’s house, but when Theia sees him, she has a meltdown. Ethan agrees to keep his distance until Theia is able to accept him again. Ethan then meets with Colonel Corwin, who behests Ethan to honor their agreement from the previous novel (made off-screen). Ethan reluctantly tells Corwin how to kill his sister.
Leaders of the zone (including heads of households, civic personnel and military personnel) attend an important meeting. With the chaos having increased, Colonel Corwin devises a plan for everyone to start a new life in a new location: the coast. They plan to evacuate as soon as possible.
An assassination attempt is made on Lilith. When Lilith learns Ethan was behind it, her sanity snaps and she attacks the militarized zone Ethan ran off to. Ethan drives Theia and Mercy out of the city. They meet with a few others off the road, waiting for more people, but while waiting, Lilith attacks them there. Lilith nearly kills Theia, but Mercy shields the girl and gets mortally wounded. Ethan attacks Lilith, and the twins fight to the death. Lilith gains the upperhand, but Theia shoots Lilith in the legs from behind. In an episode of pure wrath, Ethan beats Lilith to the point of disfiguring her, stopping only when Theia begs him to.
Ethan and Theia hide until the area is safe. Then, they take Mercy’s corpse to an abandoned working car on the highway. The car runs out of fuel before they reach the coast, so they bury Mercy there. Theia runs away, but Ethan catches up to her, and the two pour out their hearts to each other. Ethan promises to never leave again.
Walking the remaining distance to the coast, they stop at a house, which is also unoccupied. In the house’s swimming pool, the two clean the blood and dirt from their skin. When they reach the coast, they see it is peaceful, untouched by the chaos. The two eat their fill at the shelter for city refugees, then Theia walks to the beach. Ethan follows, watching her play in the sand a little. Then, Theia walks over to him, embracing him closely. The two stare at the setting sun, preparing to start a new life together.
Resurrection was written with a single theme in mind: Family. Nearly all elements of the story revolve around any character’s relationship to their relatives or to their ‘side’ in the war. The novel intends to make the reader question what their definition of the word ‘family’ and whether family is strictly blood, or even if any relationship can supersede blood.
Ethan made a promise to his sister long ago to never abandon her nor stop loving her, but he sees that she has become a monster who could threaten the life of Theia. He understands that Theia and Lilith are not part of the same family, and Ethan can only choose one. In the end, he chooses who his true family is.
The story that would eventually become the second novel in the series had already been planned by Michael Clements from the beginning. The series, regardless of the number of volumes, was always meant to start with Ethan and Theia finally being reunited, having lost everything but each other in the process.
Most of Resurrection had already been written before Michael Clements chose to extend the series from four volumes to seven. This change ultimately had no effect on the novel.
In even the earliest drafts of the story, Mercy Espinoza was still planned to be killed off. This was not something I personally desired, but felt it was necessary to the overall story. Ethan and Theia were always meant to be reunited in the end, having lost everything but each other.
Lilith’s rise to power is essential to what takes place in the remaining volumes.