Narrator: Holter Graham
Published by Hachette Audio on 15 April 2015
Length: 13 hrs and 37 mins
Genres: Zombie Apocalypse
In Benjamin Percy's new thriller, a postapocalyptic reimagining of the Lewis and Clark saga, a superflu and nuclear fallout have made a husk of the world we know. A few humans carry on, living in outposts such as the Sanctuary - the remains of St. Louis - a shielded community that owes its survival to its militant defense and fear-mongering leaders.
Then a rider comes from the wasteland beyond its walls. She reports on the outside world: West of the Cascades, rain falls, crops grow, civilization thrives. But there is danger too: the rising power of an army that pillages and enslaves every community they happen upon.
Against the wishes of the Sanctuary, a small group sets out in secrecy. Led by Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark, they hope to expand their infant nation and to reunite the States. But the Sanctuary will not allow them to escape without a fight.
©2015 Benjamin Percy (P)2015 Hachette Audio
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Being a child of the cold war, I have a love affair with apocalypse literature. I think it was all those moments spent under my school desk during bomb drills wondering what would happen if a bomb hit (the desk was certainly a goner). I have some many favorites from the old classics. When a new entry in the genre comes up, I am always eager to see how it stands up. For those who have a preferred method of ending the world, do not despair: The Dead Lands’ apocalypse has two, plague and nuclear. It creates a unique post apocalyptic world.
The book recreates the nineteenth century journey of Lewis and Clark through the mid and western United States. This journey is different in that it takes place many years after the world has been badly damaged by the plague and nuclear bombs. Two of the main characters have the surnames of Lewis and Clark. The characters starts in St. Louis, but then set out for the Pacific northwest coast. They are using maps that were from the world before. The one character, Lewis, keeps a journal where he is recording their progress and also what they find as they travel through the apt named dead lands.
All the characters were well rounded, none were two dimensional. Even minor characters had a more robust presence than main characters in some books I have read. The descriptions of the landscapes, animals and people were terrific. I had no problems picturing what the author was seeing when he wrote those descriptions.
The production values are very good. It is a professional production with clear sound. The narrator, Holter Graham, does a great job. He speaks clearly. I had no problems understanding any part of the book. Mr. Graham does not create drastic new voices for each characters. The changes are very subtle but it works. Mr. Graham conveys strong emotion well when the story requires it. He also allows the personalities of the very different characters to come through without resorting to falsettos for the female characters.
At the end of the book, I wasn’t madly in love with how the resolution of the story was achieved or the epilogue. Overall the book was very good. The ending may be the start of another book. I do not know if Mr. Percy has planned a series or not. It is certainly a very interesting universe that I would enjoy seeing explored more. I would recommend The Dead Lands to anyone who enjoys good fiction and especially those who are fans of post apocalypse fiction.
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