Michael Rusch

Book Cover



    Core Theme












    • FORD: 55, POTUS


    On a superheated Earth no longer protected by an ozone layer, technology only exists to shelter small areas of land. World superpowers race to develop protective technology for their citizens. Advancements are kept secret with each country hoping the other fails and perishes from the Earth.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Male Leaning,Universal


    Futuristic United States

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Amazon Kindle

    Year Published: 2009

    Starting Description

    In a dying world, an inevitable world war is on the horizon. An underground United States government faction has been secretly stoking global political fires in provocation of an invasion. On the verge of attack, the President is maneuvered into putting a secret defense plan into use.

    Ending Description

    A retired military commander finds himself caught in a newly declared world war. Promised rescue for himself and his family, he is coerced into helping initiate the government's secret defense plan. Kirken is ultimately unable to rescue his family and cleanse his darkened soul.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available



    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise


    Main Character Details

    Name: John Kirken

    Age: 55

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Desperate,Heroic,Leader,Masculine,Blunt,Selfless,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Maxwell Tuttle

    Age: 55

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Decisive,Honorable,Leader

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Mel Kirken

    Age: 16

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Empathetic,Heroic,Honorable,Selfless,Modest

    Additional Character Details

    Name: President Franklin Ford

    Age: 65

    Gender: Male

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Complex,Desperate,Empathetic,Leader

    Development Pitch

    On a superheated Earth no longer protected by an ozone layer, technology only exists to shelter small areas of land. A new Cold War has grown between the United States and new superpower Japan's Great Union. Both race to develop protective technology for their citizens. Advancements are kept secret with each country hoping the other will fail and perish from the Earth. With war on the horizon, a secret U.S. defense strategy is constructed calling for the launch of demolition forces against unsheltered American cities in ambush of invading troops. Unbeknownst to U.S. President Franklin Ford, an underground government faction has been secretly stoking global political fires in provocation of a J.G.U. invasion. Ford finds himself on the verge of attack and maneuvered into putting the secret defense strategy, Plan Zero, into use. Visiting his stepchildren outside the technologically protected societies, retired military Commander John Kirken finds himself caught within this newly declared war. Promised rescue for himself and his family, Kirken is coerced into helping implement Plan Zero. Sickened by his task, Kirken sets out to destroy his family's hometown with only the purpose of getting his stepchildren out. Trapped in events irreversibly set in motion and beyond any means of control, Kirken and Ford attempt to establish victory in a hopeless environment and cleanse the sins befallen their darkened souls.


    In an effort to save his children, one man is forced to do the bidding of a corrupt government on a heated Earth, no longer protected by the ozone layer, where warring superpowers compete to develop secret technologies that will allow them to save their people and take over the world.

    What We Liked

    - With climate change becoming an increasing existential threat to humanity, the subject matter is universal;
    - It is thought provoking in terms of the future of humanity and explores morality along with emerging technology;
    - Topical, provides social commentary and can hopefully serve as a cautionary tale;
    - Themes of bravery and honor are always inspiring as well;
    - It is extremely cinematic in nature, provides stunningly violent visuals;
    - Relevant and thought provoking;
    - Franchise potential;
    - Empathetic/relatable characters;
    - Unconventional/unexpected ending.


    The Earth, no longer protected by an ozone layer, is nearly inhabitable. Extreme heat and lethal levels of radiation have ravaged the atmosphere and any humans who are not fortunate enough to be sheltered by domes powered by protective technology are sick and dying. The United States is now in a race with new superpower, Japan’s Great Union aka J.G.U., to build technology that will save their citizens. Instead of working together, united as human beings, each country wants the other one to fail so the winner can take over and rule over the world. To keep out the invaders and to protect their secret technology, the United States dispatches forces to stave off invaders. Unaware that underground government forces are encouraging the invasion, President Franklin Ford is pushed into dispatching and implementing Plan Zero, a clandestine government mission to eliminate the citizens living on the outside who have been poisoned by radiation.

    John Kirken, the Dome Military Commander, left his family behind on the outside to serve his country. He is tortured by the fact that his step-children, 18 year-old Brandon and 16 year-old Mel, were kept out in the world to due to his estranged ex-wife, Deanna’s, refusal to let them go. With the help of anti-radiation medication given only to a select few, Kirken makes a trek outside of the domes to see his children. While he’s on the outside, the United States is invaded by Japanese forces seeking to find, steal and destroy the American technology developed to protect life against the elements. In addition, to this danger, the United States has enacted the cruel policy of killing off their own sick and dying.

    Kirken is used as a pawn by the government to destroy American cities in an effort to keep the Japanese from advancing on their secret technological locations. In exchange, Kirken and his children are offered extraction to the safe zone. However, there is no intention of actually rescuing him. Kirken’s knowledge and potential of leaking the American plot against its own people is his death sentence. However, Maxwell Tuttle, being a man of his word, risks everything on a mission to save Kirken. By the time Tuttle reaches them, Brandon, who is now more monster than man, is saved while the fiery destruction finally takes Kirken and Mel to their deaths.

    About The Author

    Michael Rusch is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin and works as a public relations/customer communications manager for a mass transit system in Madison. He also handles website and social media marketing for a multiplex theatre owned by his family.