The latest Deathlands novel, Apocalypse Unborn, I am glad to say is one of the most break-out, solid storyline, all-out action/adventure thrill-fest of the entire Deathlands saga in quite some time.
This Deathlands is penned by long-timer Alan Philipson, who has been writing solid military action/adventure for almost 3 decades, but has in recent years taken a solid grasp of the Deathlands series and given readers some fantastic adventures that go 'outside-the-box' normalcy in the Deathlands arena.
And in his latest, he fires fully on all cylinders. The story concept is original and fresh, the action and adventure is as raw and primal as the Deathlands should be. And all the characters are written and portrayed pretty evenly, and very thoughtfully, something most of the other writers don't give credence to.
I won't ruin any of the plotline's various surprises, but suffice it to say, Doc may be going back in time to get reunited with his long-lost family. But if he time trawls back in time to the 1800's, it could mean the erasure of the Deathlands timestream. Great stuff this!
Alan even pays homage in a way to the awesome movie - 300 - but does it Deathlands style! Very well done, chock-full of cool and new muties that don't come off as cheap comic book impersonations, but more steeped and backed up with either scientific explanations, or more cosmic and mysterious - all due in part by the enigmatic Magus, of course.
Alan Philipson writes and portrays the Magus to his ruthless and diabolical utmost - which is always a treat to read about. Nothing worse than a boring and bland bad guy of the typical persuasion. Not here!Read more ›
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The first half of Apocalypse Unborn is pretty dang good. It starts off with a strong premise, introduces a couple of characters who will have a major impact on Doc's future, and sets the companions off on an attempt to deal with the Magus once and for all. There are several pitched battles, and lots of interesting character dynamics.
And then the second half of the book starts.
Fully 50% of the book is one, long, running battle. Page after page after page, non-stop combat. It is breathtaking in its audaciousness. As the perspective shifts seamlessly from character to character, the tension never lets up. It is a page turner from end to end, with a very satisfying ending.
Although I didn't like this one quite as much as Cannibal Moon, it came pretty dang close. Definitely a very strong entry into the Deathlands series.
Apocalypse Unborn is a flat out thrill ride! No interminable pages of descriptions of Czech, Russian or Indonesian weaponry, or the Ka-ping! of near misses. This is a brawl along the lines of the street fight in "Gangs of New York." Guns taken away, only edged and blunt weapons against a gaggle of chiller muties. It's Caesar's Legions against the Horde. The author has introduced us to a new ecology of ocean-spawned mutants, a place so terrible that only the bravest of mariners tries to cross it. Anyone who knows Pacific-Islander people can relate instantly to the depiction of the crew of the Taniwha tea.
Mixed into the excellent fighting scenes are two side stories; one is comic relief as Magus' personal assistant Silam tries to please his insane boss with ever bloodier spectacles, while Doc is courted by two whitecoats seeking to undo the Nukecaust by returning through time to the point where Doc was captured by the Time Trawl. As in all things, the making of plans is the surest way to hear God laugh.
Alan Phillipson makes the Magus a real character, one whose insanity is knowable even if repulsive. To put it mildly, Magus stinks - something I've always thought he had to considering his infusion of body parts and mechanicals. Magus is the ultimate "chickenhawk", always wanting more blood although he personally is too cowardly to face his opponents. Our heroes have travelled a long way to chill him forever, if that's even possible.
This is a great DL book - it literally is impossible to stop reading once you start. For a mixture of science and character-driven action it can't be beat. DL fans-get on it!