Deep in the heart of Dixie, Ryan and his companions come upon a small group of survivors who are striving to recreate life as it was once known.
A generation after a global nuclear war, Louisiana is a fetid, sullen landscape of impenetrable swamps and grotesquely mutated wildlife. Above the gnarled bayous, radioactive red dust clouds race across the sky on nuclear winds; below, thick mud sucks at a man's boots. Now and then a biting acid rain falls, swept in on the boiling winds from the Gulf.
In the reeking swampland that was the Mississippi basin, neutron bombs have left barren cityscapes the territories of small groups of bitterly opposed survivors. Ryan Cawdor and his companions Krysty Wroth and J.B. Dix come upon one such group who are striving to revive life on earth the way it was before the bombs fell. But they're up against a postholocaust feudal lord who's just as determined to wipe them out.
Knowing what I know about the DL-verse, it's really cool to read all the foreshadowing of things to come.
(However, for the benefit of those who DON'T know much about DL, I'll keep them to myself!)
Solid writing, good plotting, great characterization & an overall fantastic storyline makes this the best one thus far in the series.
(Looking forward to getting to HOMEWARD BOUND, though!)
Since I haven't found a whole of the newer books to my liking, I've gone back and read some of the older ones again. This one is most definitely a keeper. Swampies, some of the Trader's old crew, lovely Lori to keep Doc happy and Baron Tourment....wow what a great re-read. Having just read Cannibal Moon, this was an excellent choice to follow up with.
I am reviewing the Graphic Audio unabridged book >
I loved this book! I liked the setting, Loved Jak's intro.
The Baron was interesting - a horror straight out of a 1970's John Holmes Porno.
These earliest Deathlands novels are a testament to Lawrence James' strength as a pulp adventure writer. This is the fourth of his contributions I've read and they've been consistently good. “Neutron Solstice” might be the best I've come across yet.
It's certainly impressive in terms of continuity. We learn something of Ryan's origins, the Doc gives away some more hints, we lose a regular and gain one of the most distinctive characters in the series, Jak. The latter is introduced very dramatically and is one of the highlights. However I was a bit disappointed that his actual joining of the team comes down to “I want to go with you because I like fighting.” / “Okay then”, and I would have liked a more interesting motivation.
The muties who appeared to be living dead were a clever twist on the expected voodoo zombie trope of the swampland setting. In fact the whole fetid swamp landscape was excellently conjured up. The decayed nature trail with still functioning commentary was a good bit of ironic humour.
Chief villain Baron Tourment is a memorably grotesque villain, an unsettling mix of a giant body with a dependence on callipers for his weak legs. His gruesome execution of one poor character, cutting them up live and feeding them piece by piece to giant crocodiles is sadistic even by post-apocalyptic standards. The final pursuit between him, Jak and Ryan is probably the best ending of a Deathlands novel I've read yet.
Interesting as well to have a more detailed look at the early days after the nuclear war, with the tragic video diary they discover. It doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of the story but it brings a bit more substance to the Deathlands setup. That's probably the biggest recommendation of this book. It's not just a good adventure, but there's a sense of the series moving out of a standard Mad Max / wild west world and really finding its own personality.