Woodbury was left in ruins forcing Lilly Caul and the rest of her allies to flee underground. For now, they have a safe place to live and plenty of supplies but living underground isn't good for the children or the elderly. Lilly dreams of a day when they can take over Woodbury again but to Bob, and all the rest, it seems like a pipe dream because Woodbury is overrun with walkers. The reverend managed to escape the slew of walkers he unleashed on Woodbury but with only two followers left in his flock, the odds of survival don't look great for him. The reverend is however still bent upon his apocalyptic vision, certain that he is living through the rapture. No matter how many miles he drives away from Woodbury, and the catastrophe he unleashed, all he can think about is returning there some day and dealing with Lilly, who had the nerve to throw a wrench in his plans.
I am so over the Governor series. Yes, Bonansinga is covering new ground by writing about Lilly and her group but it's not particularly compelling, even with the threat of zombies looming. It's hard to have any sympathy for Lilly, and her desire to return to Woodbury, given how easily she handed over the running of the town to the preacher in the first place. This is a problem entirely of Lilly's creation and a responsibility she refuses to own, even as she tries to encourage the group to think about the benefits of living above ground. You would think that having already made an epic mistake losing Woodbury that Lilly would be more on the ball but you'd be wrong. After repeatedly telling herself to be aware of the point of no return, she promptly runs out of gas, thus risking her life and that of her travelling companion. Lilly actually gets so caught up in conversation that she doesn't notice the gas gauge. This is the woman btw who thinks she should be in a leadership position. Clearly, Lilly needs all the plot armor she can get because she's too stupid to live.
The antagonist in this book is the Reverend Jeremiah and as villains go, he might as well have been twirling a mustache and laughing maniacally. Even if it makes sense for Jeremiah to think that he was living through the rapture, the fact is, the evil preacher thing has been done to death. His supposed divine revelations adding nothing to the story and segues into his abusive childhood didn't add any nuance to the character. It's clear that Bonansinga tried to make Jeremiah three dimensional but he greatly missed the mark. I can only be thankful that with Jeremiah dead, we'll have a new antagonist in the next book. Even though this series is well past its expiry date.