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Red Equinox is the ninth novel in James Axler's Deathlands series and the direct follow-up to earlier book, Red Holocaust, with a couple of the supporting characters from there once again crossing paths with the travelling band of mercenaries lead by the one-eyed Ryan Cawdor. As fans of this series, or readers of my reviews, will know, Ryan and his buddies cross the remains of nucleur-blasted America, now known as Deathlands, by means of matter-transporters hidden inside secret military redoubts. There have been suggestions that some of these "Gateways" are capable of transporting people off-planet to orbiting space stations and it is known that, with the right knowledge, the "Gateways" are capable of flinging people backwards and forwards in time but, until now, it was thought all the main transporters were situated solely in Deathlands.
In their latest jump, Ryan and his comrades find themselves forced to pop the door lock of their Gateway upon arrival in order to be able to leave the transporter; the Gateways only operate when you open and shut the door hence if they can't open the door, they can't then jump to another destination and will remain trapped until they eventually die of starvation. Because of Krysty's unusual mutie strength, the door is bust and unable to trigger any more jumps which seems okay, the band will just walk to the next nearest Gateway, until they discover the truth.....their latest jump has taken to them to the only known Gateway in the heart of post-war Russia and if they don't fix the door, the group will remain stuck there; the only Americans in a very hostile land that still bears a pre-war grudge against Westerners!
Thankfully Rick, the latest guy to join the team who was recently awoken from a Cryonics chamber, thinks he can fix the damage. He just needs the right tools. But with Rick on his last legs, suffering from terminal Lou Gehriggs Disease, time is running out and when Ryan encounters a former adsversary, a Russian General whom Ryan encountered once before in the wastes of Alaska, things are further complicated! For the General has an old score to settle with "The Americans" and their chilling will ensure promotion above his furthest dreams!
This is another great Deathlands novel that far surpasses the more mediocre installments of recent books in the series! It is great to see the return of an old enemy and the cat and mouse game that follows is enthralling and full of suspense! It is like all the best cold-war espionage thrillers but given a modern-day twist and set in a world far removed from our own! Future-Russia too has been brilliantly imagined and this helps give this paticular Deathlands novel a whole new, fresh and unique angle!
Although many of the books can be read as stand-alone stories, and this is no exception, still there is more enjoyment to be had if you have read earlier books in the series and especially, in this case, the preceeding Red Holocaust!
Seriously, this is a fantastic novel and a great addition to the series that really should not be missed and ends on a real cliff-hanger that leaves the reader chomping at the bit to read the next installment!
Book Series: Deathlands