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Modified on 2011/12/13 19:05 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands
   It is a profound mistake to underestimate the lure and attraction of a great evil. The highway of history is lined with the whitened bones of those who have fallen into that error.

   - The Abyss Within the Skull
   Thomas Wun

   This book picks up right where Seedling left off - Ryan has just found his son Dean, and they're making an escape from the scalies. They're running toward the LAV when a huge mutie alligator attacks Ryan, grabbing his leg and pulling him into the water. Dean dives in after him and stabs the creature in the eye, freeing Ryan; they make it to shore and pile into the LAV with the others.
   JB gets the LAV going, and they ride down the river. The scalies pursue in boats, but the companions kill them all.
   The rest of the ride to the mansion where the gateway is located is uneventful, until they get near the building. There, they're attacked by one of the street gangs. They climb down the elevator shaft and jump out via the gate.
   They end up someplace odd, where the gravity doesn't feel right. Ryan recovers first; he hears people outside the gateway chamber. When he opens the door, he sees several folks in odd uniforms carrying some kind of weapon, so he immediately slams the door shut, activating the gate again.
   This time, they end up somewhere warm and humid. Once everyone's recovered, they exit the gate and look around. Ryan finds a slip of paper with some faint writing, which he sticks into his pocket. They search the redoubt and find it secure, so they eat, spend the night, then hit up the armory. Dean gets himself a new .22; Ryan swaps out his H&K G12 for a Steyr SSG-70; and JB gets himself an Uzi and an M-4000 shotgun.
   The next day, they leave the redoubt to take a look around the area. JB determines they're in southern Florida, in the remains of an amusement park. While they're exploring, Dean is attacked and nearly killed by a monstrous python, but Ryan chops its head off.
   A little while later, they're picked up by some sec men working for Boss Larry. The men disarm them and take them to see Larry himself. Larry recognizes Ryan and JB from a past encounter where they beat him and left him broken; he vowed that if they ever met again, he'd kill them. Luckily for them, Dean breaks free and pulls a knife, which he claims he can throw at Larry and kill him. Since the companions just happened to be passing through, not actively hunting Larry, he decides to let them live.
   As they're talking, Adam Traven walks into the room. The companions immediately realize who the real power in Greenglades is; Traven warns Ryan not to stay too long, then he leaves. Larry tells his sec boss, Kelly, to give the companions rooms in the motel.
   Later that afternoon, they're summon by Boss Larry. Along the way, they see a group of old folks from the retirement community next door; several of them have been killed lately, and they want to talk to Kelly. The leader is a woman with a very distinctive amber necklace.
   After Kelly shakes her off, he continues on to see Larry, who tells them that Kelly will be taking them on some of the rides, along with some of Traven's posse. One of the young women, Sky, takes a fancy to Doc.
   The next morning, Larry sends for Ryan alone. Along the way, he warns Ryan that Traven wants Dean, and that it would be best to leave sooner rather than later. Larry tells Ryan much the same thing, along with the fact that Traven told him to have Ryan killed. Instead, he gives Ryan a long-range radio. As Ryan is about to leave, Traven shows up with some of his posse and several sec men; he tells Ryan flat out that he'll let the group go, if they give him Dean. Ryan says he needs some time to think about it, so Traven lets him go.
   Back at the hotel, Ryan gathers everyone together for a meeting. As it happens, the sheet of paper Ryan found is a series of codes for several gateways, including one near Jak's farm. Ryan decides to take Dean to stay with Jak for a few days while he and the others take care of Traven and his posse.
   That night, Ryan and Dean sneak out and make it to the gateway; they jump to New Mexico and leave the redoubt, but they're hounded by a pack of coyotes. They're nearly done for when Jak shows up and saves them. Ryan spends the night before setting out in the morning.
   That night, Sky comes to see Doc. They're in the middle of sex when Doc recognizes the necklace she's wearing - it's the same one the old woman had, and it's covered in blood. Doc realizes that she and the others are responsible for killing the old folks, and he kills her.
   The next morning, Ryan jumps back to Florida. On the way back, he's attacked by a horde of mutie frogs. When he gets back, he finds that Sky has disappeared and Traven wants Doc for questioning.
   Ryan gets back to the room and finds Sky in the bathtub, where the others stashed her. He gets the body out, takes a shower, then he and JB hide the body in another room.
   Not long after, Kelly comes by - he tells them that he had a plan to kill Traven, but it failed. He and his conspirators get caught, and the companions are called out to watch the executions. Afterward, Traven makes Ryan a deal - if comes with the posse on one of their hunts, Traven will let everyone go free. If Ryan refuses, Doc dies. Ryan has no choice but to accept, so they leave that night.
   They break into a house belonging to the Johnson family. The posse gathers everyone in the living room and slaughters them while Traven holds a gun on Ryan (who's only armed with two blades). Ryan waits until Traven is distracted, then smashes the fuse box, sending the house into darkness. He kills most of the posse, but Traven and one of his boys get away.
   Ryan chases them back to Larry's headquarters, where they have a final showdown. Traven and his men are killed, as well as Larry and his personal servants, but the companions survive. They leave the ville, jumping out to New Mexico.

DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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