Once the world was beautiful and full of people. Cities filled the landscape and buildings reached the sky. But now, after The Wandering, very few portions of the old world remain, and more of the surviving fragments of a glorious past disappear every day.
Yet, it is more than just memories of the past at stake when a new enemy arrives in The Waste. Flooding over the land and leaving total destruction in their wake, these mysterious invaders will stop at nothing until all ties to the old world are destroyed and forgotten.
But there is one last hope, a rumor which speaks of a powerful people who survived The Wandering unscathed. Could they be the answer The Waste needs in its darkest hour? Could this rumored people hold back the tide of destruction or will The Waste, along with the final remnants of humanity's glorious past, disappear forever like dried grass in a flame?
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A Western with a post-apocalyptic veneer
"You have to ring the bell. Read the ... sign"
With the opening passages, I thought that this was going to be yet another post apocalyptic story of one loner battling for survival as he makes his way through lands of starvation and desolation. How wrong I was. Yes, one of the main protagonists, Rock, is usually a lone traveller but the majority of the people are grouped into large tribes or smaller clans or families, some of which are nomadic but the others stay in one place, farming or trading. And, whilst most of the scientific achievements we take so much for granted such as cars, planes and the internet, no longer exist other than as fabled stories of Once Upon a Time, (like the tales of skyscrapers and vast populations), a few little electrical devices have survived - kettles and toasters, for example - but these are now rarely used, though treasured, as they need the magic of the power from shiny black Suncatchers and their little black storage boxes to make them work. Even these items are slowly disappearing as the technical knowledge to repair them no longer exists. We are not told what caused the transition but it happened just within the memory of a previous generation.
Into this reasonable settled world comes an invading army of horse riding, bow wielding aggressors, seemingly determined to destroy everyone. The story revolves around the journey of a young woman sent to seek help against them. She has to travel to, and beyond, the Wall without Walls, a place offering instant death to anyone who tries to cross it. She is accompanied by an initially reluctant Rock, whose service to deliver her there is purchased by the bribe of five old books, these being a rare and valuable exchange commodity. As well as being an exciting and rattling good story with plenty of action, there are numerous great characters all given depth and personality by the author. My personal favourite is Dickens, an odd man, himself a book collector.
The author, Troy Hallewell, also narrates, which can often be a disaster. But Mr.Hallewell's reading is good and his dialogue voices are varied, distinct and the overall performance is worthy of many of the professional readers. There are a couple of editing glitches, but these are minor. My main irritation came solely for the book title, RazorWire, being given at the beginning of each new chapter. A small thing but a distraction from the overall continuity of the action.In addition to a great storyline, well written, and a cast of rounded, interesting characters, there is also a touch of mystery. Who are these new invaders and where are they from? What do they want and can they be stopped? Why does crossing the Wall without Walls mean an automatic death sentence? What is beyond it? What caused the happening which took away the technologies and must have killed so many? And what will be in the next book of After Civilisation, RazorsEdge? I can't wait!
My thanks to the right's holder for sending me a complementary copy of RazorWire in exchange for an honest review. This I have given
- Norma Miles