I didn’t think anyone could top Stephen King when it came to end of the world novels, but Robert McCammon does it. It’s a little dated, since the catastrophe is caused by a US-USSR nuclear war, but you’ll soon get past that. The rest of the plot and depth of the characters will captivate you.
It has some of the general elements of King’s The Stand–end of the world, evil stalking the remnants of humanity, heroic figures, treachery, etc. But, McCammon ups the intensity by quite a bit.
You’ll find a teen age boy, who is way too smart for himself, and he gets tapped as an aide to an ex military general who thinks he’s a reincarnation of General Patton. And the boy, Roland, turns out to be the perfect right hand man. And not in a good way.
You’ll find a bag lady who has more courage than the president of the United States.
You’ll find a professional wrestler named Black Frankenstein, who performs super human feats to protect a girl, Swan, who faces the devil himself.
You’ll find evil so dark that you’ll have to stop reading and compose yourself before you can continue reading.
And all of this in only 950 pages. I wish it had been longer.