In this seventh book by James Axler, set once more in a post-apocalyptic America now known as The Deathlands, Ryan Cawdor and his group of companions this time come to New England by means of the matter-transporters they use to travel. Near-danger strikes though when they realise the military redoubt they have arrived in opens up into a large body of water!
Thankfully, the redoubt is not fully submerged and has just collapsed at the foot of a set of cliffs and once the tide is out, the group are able to make their way to the top and discover where they are using J.B's sextant.
Travelling to a near-by Ville, the team discover a fairly prosperous whaling community but all is not as well as appears on the surface. The local people are held in thrall and awe by an overly-threatening sea captain and when Ryan falls foul of one of her crew, he soon finds himself drawing unwanted attention to himself and his fellow Outlanders.
Before long, Ryan has been sand-bagged and finds himself, with the latest addition to his team ~ an Apache who names himself after The Everly Brithers, all out at sea and at the mercy of a woman whose temper is as legendary as her sexual appetites, either which can get you chilled dead! It is up to his friends to try and rescue him but can they hope to get to him in time or is their duly appointed leader all on his own?
This is another slightly below-average Deathlands novel that is still good but which lacks a bit of the depth of the other books in the series. There is another subtle reference to Stephen King slipped in (the first was in Neutron Solstice when a Witch Woman was accused of cursing "Little Stevie king" and making him lose weight but we also witnessed a boy riding an over-sized bike yelling "Hi-Ho Silverrrrr!" in Crater Lake like Stutering Bill in King's IT!). This time, Doc makes a joke when they find a battered road sign that no one else gets when he says that, despite being faded and blank, the sign directs them towards "Jerusalem's Lot and Castle Rock"; both locations familiar to King fans!
This is the only real high point in an otherwise fairly standard tale inspired no doubt by Moby Dick! Thankfully this is still a good read, just a little under par, and at least Axler is attempting to keep things fresh with a totally different locale to any we have yet experienced. It is just a shame then that the plot is a similar one that readers will no doubt have experienced before from other writers and that though this is ok, it never really stands out as one of the truly great and memorable Deathlands stories!
All the reader can hope is that this series soon returns to the dizzying heights of excellence that we have seen before when the series returns with the next book, Ice And Fire!
Book Series: Deathlands