A virulent strain of a predark biowep has been unleashed upon the denizens of northern Kansas, turning them into rotting, flesh-eating monsters. Ryan Cawdor and his companions have one shot of beating the hungry rotties: turn the bloodlust of the ville's warring factions away from each other and toward a common enemy. But that means splitting up and surviving -- before the real hell is unleashed.
After the Megacull, the weak died off, so that a century later, the living have descended from only the toughest stock. Still, it takes
more than strength to survive Deathlands. It takes skill, cunning
and a warrior’s heart. But for Ryan Cawdor, staying alive isn’t just about living. In this nuke-transformed America, it helps if
somewhere, deep inside, there’s hope of finding something better.
A virulent strain of a predark biowep has been unleashed upon
the denizens of northern Kansas, turning them into rotting,
flesh-eating monsters. Running from the mindless, soulless rottie
hordes, Ryan and his companions arrive in the civil-war-torn
ville of Sweetwater Junction. They’ve got one shot at beating
the hungry rotties: turn the blood lust of the ville’s warring
factions away from each other and toward a common enemy. But that means splitting up and hiring on as sec for both sides and surviving the firefight — before the real hell is unleashed.
I just finished the July release of Deathlands Wretched Earth, and it was much better than the Palaces of Poop before it.
Which really wouldn't take much, actually.
Victor Milan returns to pen this latest DL adventure where 'rotties' are introduced to the DL universe. With the huge surge in zombie interest in recent years, ie books and movies, Milan must have thought to himself after seeing this genre growing: "Hmmm, this could be an interesting new threat for the world of Deathlands."
And, in my humble opinion, he was right. Overall, this book is edited and written better than Milan's last venture, Haven's Blight. But his writing style seems to've changed in the last couple of years. Although Wretched Earth was good, it was not great. Not like Milan's past books like Vengeance Trail and his own post-holocaust adventure series - The Guardians.
But Milan more than proves he knows these characters, their world, and at least tries to give fans an exciting romp. Milan is a better writer than Boot and Polatta, hands down. At least his books are readable, not laughable.
Wretched Earth begins with a small group of scavengers doing what they do in a damaged underground bunker. They come across a lab which carries bio-hazardous material, and thus unleash a plague upon the surface world that quickly spreads.
Ryan and the wayfarers are hired out as mercs, trying to survive on low food rations and bullets for their blasters. After battling a horde of rotties, they barely escape to a small ville in Kansas called Sweetwater Junction. This ville is torn in half by two factions, and the DL group splits up and work their own angles.
So the middle part of the book is chock full of this: introducing too many characters that kinda gave me the feeling of 'been there done that' before. It's OK, but not great.
The latter part of the book is of course when the rotties FINALLY catch up to the group and this ville, and the final battle takes place. Again, the outcome is no surprise, and the overall fighting sequences are good, but not over-the-top like writers like Alan Phillipson and Chuck Rogers have spoiled us with. I couldn't help but think how much bigger and better this could have been with one of them at the helm.
But Milan does a good job. He's written better in the past, but also this is better than his latter Outlanders books. Milan at least introduced something somewhat different with these new zombies, but I won't ruin it here. Suffice it to say, it leaves the reader knowing the DL group has a new bad guy threat for the future.
So, overall, Victor Milan gave this particular huge DL fan a good adventure, but not a great one. After reading over a 100 of these books after 26 years, I hope and expect bigger and better DL adventures like Phillipson, Rogers, and Helfers have delivered to us hardcore fans.
Milan is up again in the next DL book, titled Crimson Waters, and to me, it sounds like a much bigger and better adventure. I love when the group goes on exotic locales. I really love the synopsis of this upcoming book, and I hope Milan knocks it out of the ball park. The cover art is one of the better ones of recent covers, too.
Victor Milan did a pretty good job. I really like to see continuity between the books so I appreciated how he referenced "those pigs up in Canada" when the rotties were first encountered. I agree with another person's comment that he missed a huge opportunity for Mildred to get everyone oriented to "Zombies" from her time...maybe there is a copyright issue on the word? Not a big deal for me.
It is a big deal for me that DL authors keep the companions true to their known characteristics and skills but I don't mind if new skills or character traits are discovered.Victor did a pretty good job and even gave Mildred more "depth" of character when she was playing "mercenary" and carrying around the Louisville slugger. Made JB raise an eyebrow. That was about as close to humor as he got, and I always appreciate when the characters can make me laugh (ala Chuck Rogers).
Victor restored my faith in the series and I think is improving his story telling. Looking forward to his next one...