Monday, July 06, 2020

Battle for the Wastelands - Matthew W. Quinn

A while back, I read SON OF GRENDEL, a novella that’s a prequel to this full-length novel. Now I’ve read BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS, and it’s a fine post-apocalyptic yarn, just as I expected based on my enjoyment of the novella.

It’s the future, of course, after some disaster that has left vestiges of what people call the Old World. The countries, states, and cities that we know are gone, but firearms technology remains (although at a much lower level for the most part) and dirigibles are still around. A warlord known as Grendel has conquered most of North America. I get the feeling that BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS takes place primarily in what we know as Texas, although that’s just a hunch on my part. As in any place that’s ruled by an iron-fisted dictator and his vassals, there are rebels who fight back, and a group of them are the main characters in this novel, including the protagonist, a young man from a small settlement that’s almost wiped out who is searching for his sister and the girl he loves, who have disappeared in the chaos of war.

Actually, although he’s not the protagonist, Grendel himself is the dominant character in this novel. Tough, ruthless, smart, and with hints that he still has a bit of a world-weary code of honor, he’s surrounded by allies who can’t be trusted even while he has to deal with his open enemies. Political intrigue is thick, not only because of ambitious subordinates but also due to an abundance of concubines and offspring, all of whom would like to follow in his footsteps as absolute ruler someday.

Author Matthew W. Quinn keeps things moving along at a fast clip with lots of gritty action scenes, including a great dirigible battle late in the book. I get the sense that he’s barely started to peel away the layers of the story he envisions for this world, and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next. BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS is good, solid post-apocalyptic science fiction, and if you’re a fan of that genre I certainly recommend it.

No comments: