Red Holocaust is the second novel in the ongoing Deathlands series that follows a group of merecenaries as they travel across what is left of a nucleur war-torn alternate America. The year is around 2096 or thereabouts and everything has changed. The weather is now controlled by a heavily polluted and irradiated climate and much of what we might once have recognised as land-marks has now altered beyond comprehension. America is no more....now there is just Deathlands!
Ryan Cawdor and his ragged band of survivors have discovered a hidden secret buried beneath hundreds of Military Redoubts all across Deathlands. Matter Transporter Gateways that enable travel from one destination to another in an instant! Unfortunately they have no control over where each Gateway will lead them, the means of programming that information now long lost over the course of many decades of neglect and non-use! All they can hope for is that each jump takes them to a Gateway not buried under tons of fallen rock or submerged under water as they travel Deathlands dealing in Death and trying to leave the places they visit a little better than they were before!
This time around, the group emerge in a Redoubt situated in what was once Alaska. Life in this area of Deathlands is sparse and spread thin but it is to here that a group of renegade Russians come seeking a new life in what they mistakenly believe is still a land of plenty! Planning to invade the former USA, these bandits instead encounter Ryan Cawdor and his band of Death-Dealers who show them short shrift but the bandits have not come alone.....
This second novel continues to play on the Cold War themes of the first book with the Russians notably the enemy of the piece! It is obviously a little dated in the manner of its execution but as we are dealing with an alternate version of our own world rather than a closer match, I believe the plot manages to pull off everything it sets out to achieve! As one of the early Deathlands novels, the series has not even gotten going properly yet, this remains one of my favourites and the character development slowly begins to emerge as we get more hints at exactly who these people are that we are expected to care about!
True, this series t is not paticulary ground-breaking just yet but I love the original approach of the matter-tansfer Gateways and think this is shaping up even here to be a cracking good yarn! There are more things here to like than dis-like and Red Holocaust is a very capable follow-up to Pilgramage that will certainly leave you wanting to keep reading!