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Mad God's Wrath (Outlanders, 28) Mass Market Paperback – January 23, 2004
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What is the sign of a good writer? Someone who can take an old, tried and worn out storyline and add enough twists and exotic locations to make it not only worthwhile reading, but memorable too boot.
The novel begins on the Manitius base, located on the moon. Here the survivors who have not yet made their way to Cerberus are guarding over the body of the last of the Tuatha Du Danaan, Maccan.
The reader quickly discovers that not all the base personnel are what they seem. There are still a number of men and women loyal to Maccan, and are simply waiting for the right time to revive him.
Now is better than never.
Grant, Kane and Brigid are off on the East coast, attempting to make a deal with a Pit Boss for weapons and ordinance he smuggled out of the Tartarus pits. As one can imagine, it turned out to be a trap, but one which ended up costing the lives and even more Deathbirds, while Kane and his companions made it away with nary a scratch.
In Cerberus, Lakesh is spending time with Domi, and most of the base personnel are just relaxing and living their lives.
Their peaceful little world came crashing down around them incredibly fast. Maccan invades the redoubt, his people causing extensive damage and killing a large number of the refugees from the Manitius base. He has two demands, one being that Lakesh accompany him, the other that the scientists bring along his interphaser.
Maccan has some interesting plans for the device. At first, Lakesh has no desire to help the Mad God, but after he tortures Domi, and puts her in a coma from which it is uncertain if she will awaken or not, Lakesh gives in.
Not so much as to save more lives, as he couldn't stand to lose Domi.
He, as well as the Interphaser, are taken and the surviving members of Maccan's invading force use the gateway and leave the base.
When Kane and his friend return to the base, they quickly discover the extent of the damage, and are able to track the jump location, where Maccan took Lakesh and the device.
He has made a trip to Mars.
None of them are all that eager to return to the red, barren planet, as they have no idea what sort of trap, if any - Maccan has left behind for them. However, the safe return of their friend is far more important, and they push any doubt and fear they have to the backgrounds of their minds and make the jump.
Upon returning to Mars, they briefly encounter more Transadapts, but they're more of an annoyance than an actual danger.
They find out that Maccan has taken Lakesh to the monument pyramid, and take the Martian bullet train to the huge monolith. The fight on the train against Maccan's people is very well written, and one could see the Cerberus warriors exchanging weapons fire against the fast moving sleds, piloted by Maccan's loyalists.
But, compared to the interior of the great pyramid itself, that is nothing more than a walk in the park. It was as if one was actually inside the huge structure, feeling not only the immeasurable weight of the stone the pyramid was built out of pushing down on you, but the weight of the passage of time as well.
Inside the monument, Maccan's forces capture Kane and his friends and they are taken to Lakesh.
A short period of time later, they're all taken deep into the pyramid, where they learn Maccan's plans, and even more fascinating, what happened to the Tuatha and their origins.
Maccan plans on using the Interphaser in conjunction with the Pyramid to cross the dimensions and return to his peoples own universe and world, and he intends on taking the Cerberus warriors with him.
Brigid sabotages his plans however, and in doing so, quite literally brings down the house around the Mad god.
As I stated at the beginning of my review, the story is as old as time, but when you mix characters you actually care about, locate them in exotic settings and throw in an insane alien who considers himself to be a god - you have the makings of a hell of a read.
The recapping of material wasn't quite as overbearing as it has been over the past couple of years, although it is still annoying, and it could potentially turn older readers away. But, to be honest, that would be the reader's loss. It is necessary from time to time to have recapping, as to fill in the newcomers to the series.
Once again the author has proven that he knows his science. The theories and technology mentioned in the novel are not just random bits of fluff pulled out of the air, but actual theories put forth in the scientific community, backed by research.
This is what sets Outlanders apart from many other novels, and the original series that spawned it.
Combine that with written descriptions that could stimulate even the most obtuse and un-imaginative minds, you have a winner, and once again, the author has proven that he is more than just your average writer.
Many authors making a great deal more for their work could learn a thing or two from this author.
Since the main characters are the heroes of an action-adventure series it goes without saying they're larger than life but they are developed well enough to be believable, especially in the subtle personality growth they have all undergone over the course of the series. They seem to come alive on the page as you read about them.
The touches of satirical humor give Outlanders an individuality that can't be easily imitated by other writers and gives it a unique status.
Like the best of past Outlanders adventures, Mr. Ellis uses his vivid characterizations masterfully to build you up, then unexpectedly cut you brutally down as with the graphic assault on Cerberus.
This novel concerns Maccan, the last prince of the Tuatha De Danaan, the "mad god" of the title. Colorful and even a little over the top, he is a strangely sympathetic villain, despite his allegiance to no one but himself. His desire to walk "through the looking glass" is not just a mad delusion but based on a very interesting scientific principle about the mirror matter theory(which I only pretend to really understand!).
The scenes set on Mars are very interesting and exciting, particularly the wild train chase across the plains. I could picture every moment of it as if I were watching a movie. What a great film epic this book-most of them in fact-would make!
The best thing about the whole book for me was that the characters I have come to know and love over the last five or so years are back in fine form, and not the travesties of the previous book, Awakening.
Brigid, Kane, Grant, Domi, Lakesh, et. al-welcome back! A lot of us missed you!
At any rate, even though Mad God's Wrath contains plenty of action, violence and even sex , I don't think this is the sort of book that will appeal to young Deathlands only fans (or old Deathlands only fans for that matter) for whom quality of prose or characterization takes a backseat to descriptions of guns, blood-letting and rape. This is high adventure, pulpish even, but presented maturely and intelligently.
For anyone who likes their action heroes resourceful and witty and plots a bit more highbrow than shooting the straw man bad guy, this is the kind of book you're likely to appreciate.