Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Heard: "The Dead Lands" by Benjamin Percy

Heard: The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy, 2015, download.

I read Percy's werewolf-vampire-civil rights novel from a few years ago. I had to read that one for the awards committee I was on and although I did not like the book all that much it had some fun stuff going on.

This is a post-apocalyptic retelling of Lewis and Clark. I've never learned about the Lewis and Clark trip so I don't know how much real-life events Percy folded into his book.

Quick description: Lewis and Clark, with The Stand.

Longer description: St. Louis is a walled city. St. Louis was closed off by a 40 foot wall after the a super fly and then a nuclear war broke out decades ago. (Maybe 200 years ago, I don't recall.) St. Louis is a city state surrounded and isolated by a nuclear holocaust desert that even dried up the Mississippi. The city is ruled by a despotic Mayor and only a few Rangers are allowed to exit. There is still a terror that the flu could find it's way in from outsiders.

Clark is a wall guard and sometime Ranger. She sees a rider and horse arrive, and the rider is shot with an arrow, beaten, and taken prisoner. Clark tries to interfere but is stopped. Meanwhile, slim and drug addicted Lewis operates the City Museum. The museum is a public refuge from the high heat and the only educational institution still alive.

Things happen. The rider was there to see Lewis. Lewis is getting visions. People are mutating. The rider was there to deliver a message from the person in Lewis's visions. Clark and Lewis team up to rescue the rider - a Sacagawea stand-in - and head northwest. Meanwhile, Lewis's teenaged helper is stuck in charge of the museum and avoiding the sexual and romantic advances of the scuzzy Sheriff who plans to rape and kill her.

Plenty of things happen. It's a road trip novel with danger, giant attack spiders, scary guys, tension, slavers, mind reading, mentally controlling electricity, telepathic discussion with animals, subterfuge, weasel politicans, and cruel government.

This was a fun listen but did drag on for a while. I finished listening to this a month or more ago.

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