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Northstar Rising is the tenth book in James Axler's Deathlands series set in a post-apocalyptic America that has been devastated by nucleur war. Ryan Cawdor and his bunch of misfits travel the land via secret goverment matter-transporters, known as Gateways, that exist in hundreds of long-abandoned military installations. With each book they encounter different obstacles as they attempt, with each jump, to leave each little bit of Deathlands they visit a little more hopeful and positive than before. But things don't often go the way they might like.....
This latest novel continues directly on from the previous, Red Equinox, with the Russian General obsessed with the Americans coming along for the ride when the group use the Gateways to leave Moscow, where they recently found themselves trapped. Not knowing what is going on, the General staggers out of the mat-trans before they can stop him and closes the door at their destination triggering another jump. Two on top of each other is bad enough and has temporary side-effects which includes mind-splitting headaches and nausea but the group are forced by circumstance to quickly jump a third time and the results are almost catastrophic. Each of the party suffers hideous nightmares whilst under the influence of the jump and feel like they are being torn apart but for Doc Tanner, whose grip on reality is always tenuous at best, the effect of three jumps so close to each other reduces him once more to senility! It is only when the group discover another Cryonics centre and successfully thaw out another "Freezie" that he begins to return to something near normal!!
The group have landed this time in Deathlands Minnesota but The Big Chill has left contrasting conditions. At one point, the group find themselves in tropical jungle, the next they are in slightly cooler climes facing off against the Deathlasnds answer to Viking warriors. The Vikings have a strict set of rules by which they live by and soon expect the Outlanders to conform or die! But Ryan and his friends soon discover it is not just the Vikings they have to be worried about.....
This is an important entry in the Deathlands series because it first introduces us to Doc Mildred who has an important role to play in later novels and becomes a firm member of the group far quicker thsn Rick, the last person they unfroze, did! Unfortunately the rest of the plot is a bit standard Deathlands in which the band of brothers encounter a throw-back to ancirent times and find themselves fighting for their lives. It is something that we have seen a lot of in this series and whilst sometimes this works, in other novels such as this one it just feels a little done-before!
As I say, this is a fairly important novel in the series and it is only for that reason that I give it 4 * and not 3 but it is not the best and the plot is a bit weak compared to the other books that have come before! It can be read as a stand-alone but works best as part of the larger series.
Overall, it is one I would only partly reccommend!
Book Series: Deathlands