Sunday, October 1, 2017


Available at:
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A riveting and unexpected novel that questions whether a peaceful and nonviolent community can survive when civilization falls apart.
When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community in Pennsylvania is caught up in the devastating aftermath. Once-bright skies are now dark. Planes have plummeted to the ground. The systems of modern life have crumbled. 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) become more and more desperate, they begin to invade Amish farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the peaceable community.
Seen through the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob as he 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 don’t, 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 “civilization” and what remains if the center cannot hold.
New York Times Book Review Editors Choice
In print September 10, 2017 / Online September 7, 2017
“This oddity of a novel (and sly parable for the threat of climate change) puts a clever spin on ‘prepper’ fiction . . .”

September 4, 2017
“This novel will stir your imagination. A discussion based on this book is likely to be lively, touching on root issues such as the role of community, technology and money, as well as violence, forgiveness and revenge. Because the novel features plain folk, the language and story are simple, deceptively so. But make no mistake, it will cause you to consider some complicated topics, such as whether or not the providence of God will be enough once the grid goes down.”

September 1, 2017
Positive Review
“A thoughtful, meditative novel that convincingly depicts the daily life of a community that is dedicated to simplicity, humility, and peace . . . Williams juxtaposes this community with a violent and broken society, and it is the fallen world that comes away looking strange or foreign by comparison.” 

September 2, 2017
Summary Review

In print September 3, 2017
“Intriguing . . . [Jacob’s] words are simple and, like a buggy-tugging horse, each pulls its weight. This stylistic staidness runs in satisfying counterpoint to the dramas unfolding . . .  an apt and original spin on the genre of ‘prepper fiction.’”

In print July 30, 2017
“In this beautifully written book, we are exposed to questions that we may never have even thought to ask.”

“It’s rare to find a debut novel as finely crafted as When the English Fall. This book drew me in with its first line — ‘I hold her, tight in my arms, and she screams,’ and kept me riveted long after I’d finished it. The open ending leaves room for a sequel, and I’d be glad to spend more time with this community and discover what’s next for it. But whether it’s a direct follow-up to this book or a different story entirely, you can bet I’ll be reading whatever Williams chooses to do next.”

Christian Science Monitor (online; see print coverage below)
July 27, 2018
“Contemplative . . . quietly told . . . but Williams creates an impressive sense of dread that builds. When the English Fall is thoughtful and the events are believable.”

Christian Science Monitor (print edition)
July 24, 2017
“10 Best Books” Roundup
“An unusually good post-apocalyptic novel.”

July 7, 2017
“Entrancing . . . the narrative voice is deceptively simple, lulling, holding, at times, the power of prayer.”

July 21, 2017
“I never realized I wanted a postapocalyptic Amish novel, but the premise is so perfect I can’t believe that it’s never been done before — or that someone did it so well on the first try. It’s a gorgeous, moving book that’s creepier than you might expect. 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 postapocalyptic stories, but this one is fresh, unique and unforgettable . . . A quiet, brilliant little novel.”

The Christian Century (online and in print)
July 18, 2017
“Simple yet elegant . . . Williams strikes the right pitch in Jacob’s sensible prose and sly wit.”

WYPR Radio (Baltimore, MD)
July 26, 2017
On-air reading of the starred Kirkus review

Reviews Roundup
July 29, 2017

The Week
July 28, 2017
Ran Boston Globe review

Roundup: “Five Books Making News This Week”
August 8, 2017

August 16, 2017
Author interview
“A remarkable slice of apocalyptic fiction.”

Online July 19, 2017 (in print July 23)
“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.”

July 23, 2017
“An important and remarkably affecting first novel.”

The Missourian (Washington, MO)
July 11, 2017
“Smart, subtle, and powerful . . .”

(Published in local newspapers throughout the country, including Savannah Morning NewsCharleston Express(Charleston, AR) Bristol Herald Courier, Quad-City Times, Daily JournalGlobe Gazette, Telegraph Herald,Lacrosse TribuneGoshen NewsRushville RepublicanMarco Eagle, Peninsula ClarionEagle Times, and others.)
July 10, 2017
“A post-Apocalyptic Amish novel? How does that work? (It works fine. Better than fine. It’s incredible). You’ll be blown away by the juxtaposition of serene beauty, mindfulness, prayer, and a dark urgent terribleness-to-come. (That works, too. Very much so). A stunner . . . You’ll love When the English Fall so much, you’ll need to share.”

Sun Prairie Star (Sun Prairie, WI)
August 7, 2017

The Swellesley Report (Wellesley, MA)
August 5, 2017

August 3, 2017

Interview feature
August 2, 2017

Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, WA)
August 23, 2017

July 11, 2017
“Best Books of July”
“Fascinating . . . Williams grants us access into a closed society, a reminder of how reliant the rest of us are on technology to sustain our way of life—and that even the most steadfast will struggle in the face of chaos. When the English Fall is a gripping story, with an ending that made me want to go back and read it all again…”

July 10, 2017
Adrian Liang / “Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of July”
“A fascinating exploration of the corrosive effect of anger and the strength that can be found in holding true to one's beliefs, even if it leads to the harder path.” 

July 13, 2017
“Best Summer Reads Under 400 Pages” Roundup

July 14, 2017

June 28, 2017
Debut Novels Roundup

July 12, 2017
Author Interview + 2017 Debut Author Challenge

June 2, 2017
Summer books roundup

June 26, 2017
Summer books roundup

June 24, 2017
Summer books roundup
“Tense and utterly realistic.”

July 23, 2017
Author Q&A and event listing

LNP Media Group (Lancaster, PA)
July 11, 2017
Short feature

Ephrata Review (Ephrata, PA)
July 12, 2017
Event listing

July 7, 2017
July releases roundup

July 11, 2017

June 5, 2017
Summer books roundup

May 30, 2017
Summer books roundup

January 6, 2017
Brief review
“A fascinating debut.”

October 21, 2016
New sci-fi books roundup

June 2, 2017
Summary review

March 15, 2017

May 29, 2017
Brief review

July 21, 2017
“Perfect for contemplation or discussion . . . The bulk of the narrative raises many important questions about modern life, community, and personal responsibility and compassion, making it a more than worthwhile addition to the rapidly growing genre of post-apocalyptic literature.”

July 24, 2017
BookNotes contribution

July 6, 2017
“Contemplative and powerful . . . This book has changed the way I think and live – a true victory in the world of literary fiction.”

July 17, 2017
Author Q&A

July 3, 2017

July 7, 2017

August 4, 2017

A July 2017 Library Reads Selection (Also included in Shelf Awareness)
A July 2017 Indie Next Pick
July 2017 Kobo Best Book of the Month (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, & Horror category)
Trade Reviews and Author Endorsements
« “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

“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

“[A] satisfying postapocalyptic 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.”