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Warlord of the Pit
Shock waves of the past erupt deep inside Earth
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Teaser:Shock waves of the past erupt deep inside Earth...
Several baronies have disappeared, as if swallowed by the earth. Strange disturbances lead Kane and the others to a giant sinkhole in Mexico, where reality merges with an ancient culture of sorcery. Here, a mysterious guerilla leader wages war against an army of demons spiriting humans into the netherworld. Now they must confront a self-styled warlord using preDark nuclear tech to rule the depths of the planet.
Damage CriteriaThe war to pull Earth and humanity back from the iron grip of slavery shifts against an inhuman enemy both calculating and unpredictable. For those with the knowledge and will to reclaim their planet, a blueprint for survival has emerged: to challenge the future, they must reckon with the chilling and immutable past.
Sustained SweepSeveral baronies have disappeared, as if swallowed by the earth. Strange disturbances lead Kane and the others to a giant sinkhole in a remote and wild area of Mexico, where reality merges with an ancient culture of sorcery. Here a mysterious guerrilla leader wages war against an army of demons spiriting humans into the subterranean netherworld. Joining the fight, the Cerberus rebels invade the chambers of a hidden world, and confront a warlord using preDark nuclear tech to rule the depths of the planet.
A Puzzling Book in Many Ways
After a number of alleged "Outlanders" titles by several people who were not Mark Ellis, I began to wonder if Mr. Ellis had left the series--despite what I had read to the contrary. So I was relieved to pick up "Warlord of the Pit," and see the familiar acknowledgment to him on the title page. That said, I must admit there were more than a few times when I began to doubt just how involved Mark Ellis was with this title. Maybe he just needed to get a book behind him to get back on track, because although this story had a great premise, it was sluggish reading and felt somewhat unfinished, with plot lines that were left dangling, and others that were given short shrift.
But once again, the author still manages to blend real locales and actual clandestine technology to create the basis for another piece of the "Outlanders" puzzle. After a quick prologue in the recently liberated ville of Snakefish, an odd segment finds the usual Cerberus away team getting drenched and shot at on an island of tropical rain forest. They briefly meet up with some local cannon fodder, and an alluring and curiously knowledgeable woman.
In a change of strategy, this mission had started out as a diplomatic venture, hoping to gain allies against their reptilian enemies, but the team soon discovers to their surprise, that a familiar rival organization is one step ahead of them. After killing off a bunch of locals, and blowing stuff up, this story line gets dropped and the Cerberus 3 make their way to the remnants of the California coast in support of another Cerberus team, and to investigate why strange earthquakes seem to be leveling recently liberated villes.
This is where the book seems to recover the old "Outlanders" swagger, as the team grabs a Sandcat and treks deep into the Mexican desert, chasing signs of an unknown machine that operates underground. This machine appears to be responsible for the quakes and destruction of three former baronies. A series of minor adventures culminates in an alliance with a beautiful, but enigmatic Mexican witch to track down an evil local slaver in the nearby mountains.
Both the Cave of Swallows and the Subterrene exist. The Mexican mountain Cave is the deepest cave of it's type in the world. The Subterrene is a monstrous tunnel-digging machine that has been in operation since at least the mid-'80's. I have an image of one with a big US Air Force logo on the side. Although this technology has been public for some time, surprisingly little can be verified. The type that appears in the book--if real--would have to make you wonder just how many of these tunnels exist and why.
"Warlord of the Pit" sort of wanders to a conclusion. It's a decent read and probably better than the previous 5 books, but it's like a short side tunnel in the world of "Outlanders." The end comes too quickly, and the overall plot goes absolutely nowhere.
From pirates to underground railways...
by The Phantom
This is the last story available from the original writer and creator of the series. I thought it was a good book, and was surprised that a character Kane's crew had dealt with before returned for a round as the main villain here.
But much of the story takes place before that point is reached, and I actually enjoyed most the beginning stages of the novel on and around the pirate ship at a small island in the Indonesia area. Brigid had some good scenes in this portion, and all the action was written well.
The second phase of the book deals with a major destruction of some of the former overlord's villes, and the quest to find out what and why this is taking place. This leads Kane's gang on another adventure of distant lands, strange discoveries, and more action and danger. From a trek across the Mexican desert to the action in an underground installation, there is plenty of adventure and daring-do and an exciting finish to satisfy my appetite for another excellent Outlanders book.
Too bad this is the last title in the series from Mark Ellis, the last adventure of Kane and the Cerberus crew from the original author... or is it?