The so-called Cremation Virus developed in a secret laboratory hidden in the desert in northern Africa was intended to serve as a powerful secret biological warfare weapon that would wipe out a population but leave animals and infrastructure intact for the victor to possess. The weaponized virus kills within hours by attacking all moisture in a human body, which is almost ninety percent moisture. After the rapid onset of unconsciousness, the organs shut down, and death is quick. The corpse quickly dehydrates into a small pile of ash-like remains.
Ashes and Dust, the first of four books about the survivors, tells the story of a California coed named Barbara and a bitter homeless veteran with the street name Roostafer. She struggles to stay alive on her hastily established homestead in the Trinity Alps wilderness of northern California while he faces his demons in the now-vacant city of Portland, Oregon. In a twist of fate, they meet and decide to join forces with the lofty goal of establishing a Christian homestead community. They encounter surprising threats from the natural world as it adjusts to the sudden absence of a significant human population and threats from a few other survivors who have evil personal agendas for the new earth. Their very survival is at risk as they struggle to rise from the ashes and dust that used to be human civilization.
Ronald R. Leedy is a follower of Jesus and a Vietnam veteran with nine years of active duty. After the Navy, he worked eight years in administration, culminating in two years as CEO of a private nonprofit, then served as a Senior Pastor in independent, nondenominational churches for eight and a half years. He was formally ordained in 2003. His final vocation was twelve years of safely driving a big rig throughout the western United States until he retired to pursue his dream of writing. He was widowed after fifty-three years of marriage to one woman. Five months later, he met an artist named Juanita, who was widowed after forty-six years of marriage to one man. They fell in love and married, boasting that together they had ninety-nine years of marriage experience. Ron and Juanita live in northern California, where they both grew up. He has lived in seven states and has driven across America several times. He has visited seventeen different countries around the world. He has personally experienced every one of the varied locations and environments described in his books. His favorite authors include Zane Grey, Louis Lamour, Jack London, John D. MacDonald, James Michener, Lee Child, C. J. Petit, Robert J. Thomas, Ann McCaffery, and Ursula K. Le Guin. He is an eclectic reader and a very active subscriber to Kindle Unlimited. He likes to say, “Everyone should always read for fun!” He is learning how to paint with the love of his life, Juanita, but otherwise devotes his retirement to writing. Ronald and Juanita feel as if they were destined to fall in love, that God prepared them specifically for each other and arranged for them to meet, and that God is, indeed, very, very good!