Echo Island

Be Prepared

Fiction - Action
331 Pages
Reviewed on 10/10/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A former Guinness World Record Holder, treasure hunter, avid backpacker, and explorer, Gary Travis has always been a storyteller--fighting to be heard over eight siblings. Born in the northeast and now living in San Diego with his wife and youngest son, Jack, he continues to prep with an organic garden, water and food supplies, and bugout bags ready.

Gary's family often camps and goes on treasure-hunting adventures in search of Captain Kidd's Treasure, the Lost Dutchman's Mine, the Forest Fenn Treasure, and others.

Growing up in the Boston area, where a Nor'easter can shut off electricity for days, pipes freeze, and ice storms cripple transportation, Gary Travis understands the basic need to be prepared. That was a prominent catalyst in the creation of this story.

While Jack readies to graduate from high school, oldest son, Dillon, hiked Nepal and works as a glacier guide in Alaska.

Gary continues to work in the hospitality/restaurant business.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Echo Island: Be Prepared by Gary Travis is a prepper fiction novel that follows the Prescott family after a destabilizing earthquake takes the life of the family matriarch, Dana Prescott. From the wreckage and with the help of Dillon Prescott's former military comrades, father Taylor Prescott is lifted from the collapsed California home—the loss of a limb less of a hardship when young Jack Prescott sells off a lucrative patent for a sum in the hundreds of millions. The Prescotts vow never to be unprepared again, pooling their material resources, training, and survival knowledge to build up an offshore colony. When the truth of the first earthquake arises at the same time that a catastrophic second worldwide disaster strikes, the Echo Island community is forced to contend not just with the environmental effects, but the societal upheaval that follows.

Gary Travis has written an engrossing tale of conspiracy, survival, and social psychology in Echo Island: Be Prepared. There is a lot of red meat out there for readers of the prepper genre, but I've found most to be a little chewy and overcooked. Travis allows for the seasoning of the story, layering its progress with strong characters that are well developed and pacing that builds with steady, evenhanded momentum before the searing scold of its climax hits. Having grown up in San Francisco in a military family and watched my city burn after the Loma Prieta earthquake, there was a personal connection that I felt to the underlying theme of being prepared. Of course, the little bug-out bags we created in the aftermath pale in comparison to the work of the Prescott family, but nevertheless Travis struck a chord in a book that gives a no-holds-barred look at the devolution of humanity in the face of catastrophe, and the innate desire that families are sure to have that is universal: to survive at all cost.

K.C. Finn

Echo Island: Be Prepared is a work of action and adventure fiction penned by author Gary Travis. Written for adult audiences due to appropriate levels of violence and language for its content, this work of disaster fiction focuses on family bonds, security and a new sense of community spirit in the wake of tragedy. When a powerful earthquake tears the Prescott family apart and destroys their home, brothers Jack and Dillon set out to find a new, secure base – the titular Echo Island - off the coast of Maine. In their effort to avoid any more man-made disasters, they recruit a community of friends who are skilled preppers, but the island is not yet finished when an even bigger crisis strikes not just their island, but the whole world.

Fans of realistic apocalyptic fiction, intense action dramas, and close-knit community thrillers are certain to enjoy the intermingling of genres in this truly unique tale. Author Gary Travis leaves no stone unturned in his intense approach to security preparations, building a tense atmosphere as the community and its elusive fortress grows. The character relationships are well defined and interesting to see unfold, with sharp dialogue and close narration that allow us to see their true personalities under pressure. I also liked the nod to climate fiction and man-made disasters, which is politically apt for the current era. With its varied cast, concise, intense writing and unique premise for storytelling, I would definitely recommend Echo Island: Be Prepared to any reader seeking a new kind of adventure.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Echo Island: Be Prepared by Gary Travis is a 'can’t read fast enough, what could possibly happen next' page-turner! Former Navy SEAL Dillon Prescott is attending Palo Alto University when everything begins to shake. A massive earthquake rumbles as he leads students out of the building. Dillon rushes home through the destruction to check on his parents. The house is a heap of ruins. Dillon immediately grabs his emergency gear stashed in the garage. Soon, Jake, Dillon’s younger brother, arrives. Together, they begin digging through the rubble. They find their father; Taylor is severely injured, but alive. Tragically, Dillon’s mother, Dana, was not as fortunate. Dillon calls in reinforcements – his ex-SEAL buddies. The group camps out in tents, checks on neighbors, guards against looters, and then makes the trek to the nearest VA hospital to get Taylor treated. The Prescotts' lives change in an instant. When they hear from inside government informants that the quake was caused by some kind of external force, the Prescotts vow to always “be prepared!” for whatever may come next.

Gary Travis pens an entertaining, action-packed, conspiracy-ridden adventure in Echo Island. The narrative has a thrilling beginning, followed by aftershocks of intrigue and excitement accelerating the action to the very end. Living in the aftermath of the tragedy, the main trio of characters rises above the calamity and faces the future together. As the cast of characters expands, so does the depth of the plot. Each character is essential in honing and sharpening the survivalist theme of “being prepared.” Adding to the conspiracy of increasing unnatural disasters is the sinister and forever-annoying antagonist. Creatively written, there is never a dull moment in Echo Island. The action is balanced with loyalty, honor, love, and community. The thoughts and detail woven into the narrative are powerful, perceptive and purposeful. Gary Travis masterfully shares his story; each chapter heightens the conflict with thrills and spills. As the plot action peaks and then begins to fall, the reader plummets into Echo Island’s chilling conclusion.

Grant Leishman

Echo Island: Be Prepared by Gary Travis is an action/adventure, dystopian novel that focuses on a group of survivalists who are preparing for the worst. Dillon Prescott, an ex-Navy Seal, is in class at college in California when a massive earthquake strikes the Palo Alto region. Rushing home, fearing the worst, Dillon discovers his parents' house has been totally destroyed, burying his mother and father. Thankfully his young brother is still at school but when Dillon finally manages to dig his father out of the rubble, he discovers his mother is dead and his father needs urgent medical assistance and amputation of one of his legs. He texts his Seal buddies who swiftly arrive to assist him. After the younger brother Jack sells an invention to GE, the Prescotts find themselves immensely wealthy. Determined not to be caught out by natural disasters again, the Prescotts go into full-on survival mode and purchase an island in Maine where they will set up an invincible fortress and a self-contained community for themselves and their friends. They will first have to deal with a corrupt and over-zealous local sheriff who wants the island for himself and is determined to send these interlopers packing. Once they become aware that evil forces somewhere are actually triggering these natural disasters for their own financial benefit, Dillon and his team understand just how important their sanctuary will become in what looks like being a near-extinction event.

Echo Island: Be Prepared is an exciting, action-packed, roller-coaster of a ride for any reader. The survivalists, who have special forces soldiers at their core, are experienced and capable of building an impregnable fortress on Echo Island. Author Gary Travis has unpacked a set of characters who, although stereotypical of special forces personnel, are indeed endearing and likable. They don’t take any crap but that being said, they have hearts of gold. For lovers of a little romance, there’s plenty of that here and the relationship between Dillon and Lauren was well written. The writing style is fast and frenetic as befits a thriller as well as being incredibly easy to read. I was thrilled as I got to the end of the story and realized that it wasn’t necessarily all over and that the door was left wide open for a sequel. I am particularly excited about the prospect of Dillon and his team attempting to take down the forces that caused this mass-extinction event. This appears to be a debut novel from Travis and I would have to say he’s done an exceptional job first up. I look forward to more from this author and can definitely recommend this tale for those who like their action fast and frenetic with plenty of human values thrown in for good measure.

Trudi LoPreto

The Prescotts - father Taylor and sons Dillon and Jack - are unprepared for the worst when an earthquake destroys their home and causes the death of their wife and mother, shattering each of their lives forever. The three men see only disaster in the future and start to prepare for it immediately. They buy an island in a remote spot in Maine and make plans to create a small village that will withstand anything that may happen. They quickly make enemies in their new home but nothing will stop the mission. Dillon gets in touch with his ex-Navy SEAL buddies who immediately leave their homes and, along with their families, come to fight, build, protect and do whatever it takes to make the village a reality. They are faced with danger every day but never give up until they see the end of the operation.

As I read Echo Island: Be Prepared by Gary Travis, it was hard to remember this is fiction. The story was so very believable and well written. I was pulled into the story from the first page and held my breath at each twist and turn in the journey. Echo Island: Be Prepared is a story of love, friendship, hardship, earthquakes, fighting, surviving and more. Gary Travis is a brilliant author who made the characters and the plot fly off the pages and it brought me right into the action. The violence was done tastefully and without terribly gory details. I find it impossible to say anything but 'hooyah' for Echo Island and that I can’t wait for a followup.

David S. Larson

I wasn’t into prepping, but I've thought about it—growing up in southern California where 4.5 ground shaking is common every year. I thought this book would be about the all the paranoid worst-case scenario problems people have to overcome. Far from it.

From the opening paragraph, I was hooked. What seemed implausible before I read the book, became plausible within a few pages. I rooted for the Prescotts and their fellow survivalists each step of the way. I was surprised to feel so much emotion, the author delving into the characters’ lives with themes of loyalty, love, and friendship at its center.

My recommendation—read Echo Island: Be Prepared … but only if you’ve got several uninterrupted hours. You won’t be able to put it down.