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Trader Redux is the twenty-fourth book in the Deathlands cycle set in an alternative future where America and Russia have destroyed the known world in a full-scale nucleur war. It is a rare book in the series because it sees Ryan and J.B.Dix apart from the rest of their group and meeting up once more with the legend that is The Trader; a man they once travelled with and whom they have long thought dead!
Rumours have been circling Deathlands for a while about Trader still being alive and, in recent months, the legendary man has been hunting Ryan and J.B with the intention of meeting up with his old companions. Together at last, both parties discover much has changed between the three men and their relationship can never quite go back to where it was before!
For starters, Trader is now suffering from senility and prone to bouts of anger as well as going off on tangents. For seconds, Ryan and Trader disagree over where their futures should lie. Ryan is happy to meet up with his old mentor once more but intends to return to Jak's homestead where he has left the other companions. Trader...well, no-one quite knows what exactly he wants, not even Trader!
Along their way to their seperate destinations, the band come across earthquakes, flash floods and a local Baron who wishes to wed Trader and Ryan to his two buxom and over-sexed daughters; something of which both men have different ideas about! Redux is a fun adventure and an interesting one to boot but this is not the most exciting of Deathlands novels with the plot holding more of a curiosity value than anything else. The only point of any relevance comes when rumours are introduced about a roaming group of Samurai that have been patrolling Deathlands and this merely sets the scene for a later novel in the series....
Meanwhile, back at Jak's homestead, Doc takes it on himself to go off on his own despite the concerns of the other companions. Wishing to find himself, he instead finds a new beau and brings her back to introduce her to his old friends. But a visitor to the homestead in his absence brings trouble down on the companions and all is not well when he eventually returns.....
Like I aay, this is an okay story but not amongst the best of the series. It is good to see The Trader again, who has been absent since the first book ~ Pilgramage To Hell ~ but his return does at times feel a little bit unnessecary and merely a concession to fans who wondered what had happened to this character. Not that too much is explained....The Trader is above all else well known as a man of mystery!
This book is probably best enjoyed by long-term fans as there is not much for anyone else here above and beyond the standard plot. It ends, as most of these later books do, on a cliff-hanger for the next book in the series which is a tad frustrating but is a good way of ensuring that readers will pick up at least one more book in the cycle. Certainly I enjoyed this but more for nostalgic reasons than anything else as The Trader has long become much of a myth with J.B and Ryan attributing many of their anecdotes to their long-fabled former leader. There are better Deathlands novels out there but this is still better than many of the worst books in the series!