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Not so long ago Lewis believed in the end of the rainbow. A shire. An emerald city. Elysian fields. What his childhood storybooks promised. He believed, back when they first set out from the Sancturary, that something arcadian awaited them. Not anymore. Not now. Not when he sees the bone-riddled ruins of Bozeman. It is not only the landscape that disappoints. It is humankind. Inside and outside the wall, humans remain the same, capable of wonderful things, yes, but more often excelling in ruin.

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This author's third book is slyly patterned off the greatest true adventure story in American history. He uses the prominent character names from the Corps O' Discovery of 1804-06, like Burr, Jefferson, Clark, Meriwether. The elemental purposes are not the same, and, in author Percy's account, there's no reason to return, pointing out the fact that this fiction is about as half as interesting, compelling, and significant. My suggestion is to readif you haven't alreadyStephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage from 1996 in lieu of this post-apocalyptic scrabble. Then give it six months and pick The Dead Lands up again. It's not about comparison. How can it be? But it is about perspective, and maybe, just maybe, about respect.

Don't get me wrong; this is not a bad book, just as his previous one, Red Moon, is highly readable and a fun Summer Read. The same flaws and deus ex machina moments abound, so I am not going to review this title. Suffice it to say that with such an evocative writing style, author Percy should hone down the use and up the quality of his metaphoric embellishments. I'd suggest he look to the writing of Gillian Flynn for advancement on this. Character personalities within their arcs are fine; atmosphere is very visually induced, albeit hyperbolized. The thriller-making scenessuch as the big bat and bad news bear attacksare riveting. I also admire his method of introducing a character into the dual storylines in a secondary, lesser role, then, through backstory, bring that character forward into a determining plot placement. Symbolically, I find no strains of important insight beyond the usual dystopian warnings.

However, after three novelsI have yet to read his debut, The Wilding, a non-fantastical effortI'd guess Benjamin Percy is not going to be the next Dan Simmons.

 

 

text only © copyright 05/19/2015 by Larry Crawford

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