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Ground Zero

Blazing a perilous trail through the heart of darkness

Laurence James

Cover Artist:
Michael Herring

First Edition

Release Date:
July, 1995

Cover Price:


Audio Cassette

Release Date:
May, 2000

Cover Price:


Graphic Audio MP3 CD

Release Date:
November, 2007

Cover Price:


Graphic Audio MP3 Download

Release Date:
November, 2007

Cover Price:


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Ryan Cawdor and his band of survivalists search for a better future in the devastated ruins of a city once called Washington. Facing double jeopardy posed by a barbaric baron, and the indifferent wrath of nature, Ryan Cawdor and his band of warrior survivalists are determined to persevere against predatory foes.

In the Deathlands, everyone and everything is fair game, but only the strongest survive.

Back Cover:


Deathlands is desolate and mute testimony to the aftermath of the nuclear blasts that laid waste the earth. Wayfarers in their blighted world, Ryan Cawdor and his band of warrior survivalists search for a better future in the devastated ruins of a once-proud land. The radiation-poisoned hellhole is their home, and they are determined to defend it from the predatory foreigners emerging from a gateway.

And where its proud heart, the city of Washington, had stood, Ryan Cawdor faces double jeopardy posed by a barbaric baron, and the indifferent wrath of nature.

In the Deathlands, everyone and everything is fair game, but only the strong survive.


Finished Ground Zero 05/02/2003
by GuapoPogi
I just finished Ground Zero last night. This one was kind of predictable but still an interesting read. The mystery of Abe, and Traders fate is touched on but not spoiled. I was surprised that Ryan actually shows some emotion in this book, although the moment is ruined when he decides that pumping Krysty was the way to get over his grief. Due to it predictability I would give it a 6.

Guapo F. Pogi
The best of the later LJ-era books
by Robey
All in all Ground Zero was about the best of later group of DL books by Laurence James. It had the least amount rehashed material and even though the baron was nuts as was typical, he at least had a lunatic charm which made him stand out from the usual stereotype.

The scenes in and around Washington Hole were very vividly written. This section was excellent.

I would have given Ground Zero a 10 except for the shopworn cliche of the whacked out baron inviting Ryan and Company up to his manor for dinner...and them accepting the invitation. They ought to recall how badly most of those invitations turned out from other barons. And this time is no exception.

Other than that, it was a solid my opinion the last really good one by Laurence James.
A visit to Washington hole
by The Phantom
Having parted company with Trader and Abe at the end of Shadowfall, Ryan and his companions jump to another redoubt, this time in the Washington DC area.

They meet a woman named Emma, who has powers of seeing the future to some extent, and she joins the party.

A variety of adventures and action in the story eventualy leads them to the ville of Baron Sharpe. I'm guessing this is the future location of Sharpeville, found in the Outlanders series.

The Baron (crazy as predicted) is interested in the woman with strange powers, and wants her as one of his caged pets. This leaves the usual situation where one or more of Ryans gang is held captive and a rescue ensues. Jak's love interest in Emma further binds the party for her rescue.

Although the formula is fairly standard for books in this series, I thought this adventure was written very well, and had some tense moments. I liked the rescue of Ryan from the quicksand after the tornado hit the town, and the freaky monsters the Baron kept in his zoo. The Baron's demise was nasty, and quite deserving. Overall, several decent action scenes sprinkled throughout the book. Doc Tanner had a good role in this novel, and I liked his humor at the dinner table.

A strong 7.
by One Eye Chills
The imagery in this novel was truly fantastic. Washington Hole was vintage Laurence James in detailed horrific detail.
I also loved the samurai mat-trans jumpers finally showing themselves and battling the group. It left me wanting more of that, wondering when Laurence would finally tell us their tale.
The colorful mutie zoo was a cool read and idea. Especially with Jak linking himself with the lion. That seemed to fit his personality.
The typical baron bit and the usual pitfalls that the group seems to be constantly falling into was getting to me in this part of the ever-growing series.
It seems the group ought to be learning things here by now, but read like poor Mr. James was just running out of ideas.
But even with that said, this was still one of the best and ideally different look at the Deathlands.
Well worth the time to read.
Doom Comes..
by ShadowTek
Great book!

Mutie zoo's, a hot dommie, what more do you want.. Trader is maybe/maybe not dead, I wish Emma would have become a part of the group for awhile.. but oh well.. I like how the book showed what a true dommie in a group can work.. but for that same reason, is why she well.. you'll see.. I loved the bar scene with the initial meeting of Emma. I really liked this one.

Its also very cool how in the beginning Emma predicts in cryptic fashion what will happen, and then you see what she meant latter in the book.. very cool!