I've loved the apocalypse in books, movies, and television shows since I was a sixth grader and my uncle loaned me The Stand.. I always understood from the beginning that the old world as well as the laws and social norms of that world had died along with all the people. Any means of stopping bad people doing what they wanted had also gone away. Instead of The Golden Rule (he who has the most gold makes the rules) it's the rule of strength, he who has the most strength makes the rules.
I might have mentioned before, but just in case I haven't mentioned it, some of the the biggest problems I have had with the show Revolution are that it appears that the apocalypse happened inside a Gap store and (worst of all) that when the good guys get the drop on the bad guys they either monologue and allow the bad guys to regain the advantage or (again worst of all) let them live. The point is that for whatever reason they have not come to grips with the concept of the rules of the old world dieing with the majority of the people.
This is not the case in the book When Gods Fail.
This book is set in the Pacific Northwest. In Portland, Oregon to be exact. As it opens our hero Tom is an avid spelunker and had been doing his thing when what he thought was an earthquake happened. Stalactites fell and then the whole thing caved in. Good thing for him he had some emergency rations and that the cave had a nice lil' stream so he makes out alright.
He spends a few weeks digging himself out and emerges into a much changed and devastated landscape. The only analogue to the situation he can think of is a forest fire. So thinking the fire has caused the destruction he sets out to find a phone so he can call his wife. What he finds is a cargo container that has been converted into a bugout shelter by a couple of survivalists.
He introduces himself and goes through the social niceties and behaves as though it was just a fire; a localized event. They fill him in on what exactly has happened, a full-scale nuke war. He thinks they seem like nice enough guys and he enjoys the company. When he realizes they are running low on water he even led them back to the cave he had been trapped in so they could replenish their stock.
However, when they get what water they want, they turn on him and shoot him. They leave him for dead and head back to the cargo container.
Our hero, Tom has learned a valuable lesson.When he meets new people he takes no chances; he kills. When the other poeple have him cornered he waits and watchs. When an opening presents itself he acts decisively and with no mercy.
The change in his character comes so quickly it's a little offputting, but I enjoyed not thinking about how foolish he was being to allow an enemy escape to fight another day.
The other part I didn't enjoy so much was that it was short and the first part of normal sized book ... it ended too quickly. It was a great and fun read, I recommend it.