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Before the odyssey began... there was the Trader

Alan Philipson (Primary Story)
Mark Ellis (Outlanders supplemental material)
Christopher Lowder (Deathlands supplemental material)
Laurence James (Deathlands supplemental material)

Cover Artist:
Michael Herring

First Edition

Release Date:
February, 1999

Cover Price:


Graphic Audio CDs

Release Date:
December, 2008

Cover Price:


Graphic Audio MP3 Download

Release Date:
December, 2008

Cover Price:


Front Cover - Large Front Cover - Small Full Wraparound Cover
Click on a thumbnail to view the full sized image


An all-new


Deathlands title!

Go back to the beginning with original editorial, and discover the special Collector's information located at the back of this longer-length novel!

Back Cover:


Stories of the Trader and his convoy of war wagons endure in the badlands of post-holocaust America. A dealer in Deathlands' most precious commodities -- weapons and fuel -- Trader takes note of a young Ryan Cawdor. Surrounded in myth and rumor, Trader sets into motion the beginnings of legend at a place called Virtue Lake....


At Spearpoint, the ultimate redoubt housing a valuable cache of predark technology, two opposing wills clash. Levi Shabazz intends to carve his own empire out of the vast wastelands, but the Trader intends to thwart him and end him bloody siege of power. It all comes to a head at Virtue Lake - a heard lesson for Trader and a grim rite of passage for Ryan Cawdor.

Plus for the first time ever - a feature on the birth of the Deathlands series!


by GuapoPogi
I just finished Encounter (the story part), and I have to say that I rather enjoyed it. I do think it would have been better without Doc being in it, but I also thought book # 11 Time Nomads would have been better without Krysty being in it. The flashback stories are not bad but it just isn't believable that Ryan, J.B., & Trader would stumble upon these people and not remember them later. I did like Poet, & early Trader, by early I mean that I didn't like the senile Trader from Road Wars thru Shadowfall. I would like to read other stories about Trader pre PTH. I would have given the book a 10 if it hadn't had Doc screwing up the believability, and continuity, but I give it a 7. Don't mistake that for not liking Doc though, he just didn't belong in this story.

I have a question though, who is N.B.? He/she is referred to in the "developing of the series" material in the back. Are N.B. the initials of Jack Adrian's real name?

It DOESN'T get better with age
by Robey
I finished re-reading Encounter at Spearpoint last night (I guess somebody was inspired by the title of the first Next Generation episode, Encounter at Farpoint), and I still think its a substandard piece of work, four years later.

Weak plot, shallow characterization, clumsy prose and pacing, cliched settings and situations...and what makes it worse is that with Doc Tanner involved, years before he arrives in the Deathlands via the time-dilator, it basically turns it into an "Imaginary Story", a "What If" tale, not part of the official continuity.Maybe its a folktale as hinted in the epilogue.

The whole deal with the super redoubt gives credence to that theory, inasmuch as Doc sure as hell would have mentioned a place as big as a city to Ryan at some point or another in the four years or so they've been travelling together.But even if those elements hadn't violated the continuity as established in Pilgrimage to Hell and a couple of other novels, it still wouldn't have been very interesting. For all the nostalgia about Trader, he comes off as nothing more than a collection of macho cliches. He's not a character but a stereotype.

The background information about the development of the series is very interesting though and makes you wonder what Jack Adrian would have done with it had it not been handed off to Laurence James.

Anyway, unless you're a completist, I suggest skipping this one.
I enjoyed it!
by The Phantom
Wow, this prequel novel to the Deathlands series really surprised me. This writer has been with GE since their earliest days, and I must say he is one of the most talented action writers they have had. After being somewhat disappointed with his first DL novel "Skydark", I thought "Encounter" was a vastly superior book, and a fast flowing page-turner.
It wasn't perfect, I thought some of the characterizations were a little cardboard, and I missed seeing more of a deeper look into the relationship Ryan and J.B. had with the Trader. Also there was no "Traderisms" that Ryan and J.B. used to remember so much later on. The baron in this story was a nasty villain, but his fem-fetish was kind of a silly and unnecesary part of his character.
But all things considered, I thought this book was not only a great action story centering on an event in Ryan's old war wag days, but some revelations were shown about some things in the series. The origin of Trader's sickness is presented, which is one of the reasons the Trader disappeared in the first book in the series. I also liked the side story involving Doc Tanner. A great depiction of his torment, and his inner anguish. The mist from the first book is not only a part of this story, but Doc's involvement regarding the mist was an awesome scene that was a huge plus for this book.
The ending is one of the most explosive and shocking of all the novels in the series, and overall the book exceeded my expectations on many levels. Well worth the read, I give it 9 stars.
by One Eye Chills
Not only was the storyline a much anticipated Trader storyline, but it was also a great read that left me wanting to read more of that decades-long Trader and War Wag journey that Ryan and J.B. had.
I have always believed that Gold Eagle should make a mini-series of The War Wag Years of the Trader. There is so much untapped wealth of action and adventure in those 10-years that the good 'ol Laurence James only hinted about and delved into from time to time.
Those past memories of Ryan and J.B. always were great and interesting to this diehard fan of this series.
I also loved the background info at the end of this series, telling us fans of just how something like this works out and becomes one of the longest and most successful series ever.
Even though I miss the great and legendary Laurence James, I consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate that other great writers have taken upon themselves to continue this awesome series.
It has always been my ultimate favorite.
Crappy story, but good backround.
by Poopy_Penguin
The main story to this book was most definitly crap. As I struggled through it, I realized that it was not worth reading and just skipped to the back and read the background on the series and characters, which explained a lot. I'd reccomend this book to anyone who doesnt have a clue to who the characters are or how they got together.
Trader Rules
by pooreye

This was the perfect start for "Trader" hogs like me....  I had  never read early books in the series before because I could not find them,   Alas I discovered a book store called "Half Priced Books"  I bought 26 of the early books and now can get back-filled on the DL world.   I enjoyed this book very much, with Poet and Ryan conflect and of course the "mess with the Trader" saga in all of the later book just did not have the effect .  It will now have true meaning.  Doc in this story was a supprise but he and Ryan never meet so ok i'll give you that one, but why would he ever leave the "golden retreat" of Spearpoint and jump again....weak but I'll hold back for now because I got some reading to catch up on ....25 more winter will be enjoyed a little bit better this time...shared with new friends....from Deathlands....

"enjoy it well you can"




My first book.
by slingbld

NOTE: This is a review of the Graphicaudio book presentation.

Ok, This is what got me into the deathlands series. A friend picked it up then loaned it to me. I listened to it in the car to & from work.

I like this book! I love the trader and wish there was more about the WarWag days. The villain was easy to hate and the good guys tough in all the right areas.

The story is shallow, not a hell of a lot of character developement but for it's purpose: essentially doing for us guys what the romance novel does for ladies, this ROCKED!

Well Done
by ShadowTek
This is the story of the Trader.. and how he started (sort of) its a good story.. not as good as I had hoped, but good non the less.. BTW why is gas always used to stop the trader (That's three times now in all three stories of his convoy)

I always liked the Trader warwag stories.. Book 1 and Time nomads are better Trader stories however..