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Dark Carnival

Raw determination in a stillborn land...

Laurence James

Cover Artist:
Michael Herring

First Edition

Release Date:
January, 1992

Cover Price:


Audio Cassette

Release Date:
April, 1999

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Second Edition

Release Date:
April, 1999

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Graphic Audio MP3 CD

Release Date:
June, 2006

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Graphic Audio MP3 Download

Release Date:
June, 2006

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Back Cover:


Out of the ashes of global destruction, Ryan Cawdor and his roving band of warrior survivalists continue their grim odyssey across a nuke-ravaged America, searching for a sanctuary and the promise of a better life.

Emerging from a Gateway into Florida's sultry heat, they enter the domain of a wealthy baron -- a technical genius whose seat of power is a rebuilt theme park where the rides are fast and thrill seekers are guaranteed the time of their lives...if they can get out alive.

Influencing the baron is a ruthless and hypnotic cult leader and his demonic "family," whose murderous games trap Ryan into a midnight killing spree...with only one way out.

In the Deathlands, the future is a dream. Reality is a nightmare.


Dark Carnival 01/01/2003
by GuapoPogi
I just finished Dark Carnival 01/01/2003. This book was ok there were a few too many coincidences for my liking. It was nice that Ryan & the group finally have a small clue of how to work the Mat Trans Gateways now, but to find a scrap of paper with the address to the Gateways nears Jak's place, and to suddenly decide that the Gateway section of the redoubt had not blown up with the rest of the redoubt in Latitude Zero was a bit to far fetched. Over all it was a pretty good book but these coincidences lower the books believibility and rating. I did like the reapearance of Zimyanin at the end. I give it a 7.

by pigeonxman
I love DL and I rarely give any book a lower score than 6. This book was slow moving, hard to swallow and just plain lame. If you dont have this book, dont look too hard for it.
Started strong, ended wrong
by The Phantom
Starting where Seedling had left off, this story begins at the moment Ryan finally meets his son Dean. A strong start to the book, the groups escape from New York, back to the redoubt and jumping to another redoubt in Florida. Ryan's life takes a new direction at this point, now dealing with being a father, and it was interesting to see the interaction between the two, which is the main focus of the first third of the book.
However, when the main part of the novel takes shape, in a theme park in Florida, I wasn't impressed with the direction the book went, the characters just didn't seem themselves, especially Ryan, maybe due to his sons presence at his side, I don't know, but it just seemed that he wasn't reacting properly to the strange situations they found themselves in. A weird Charles Manson type of villain with his psycho killer followers, had taken power over the Baron and the theme park. I thought it all was just silly, not up to the level of adventures I was used to in the series.

One interesting part of the book was Ryan's reunion with Jak, which was a side trip he made to keep Dean safe from the freaks at the theme park. This sets up the next novel, while in Jak's custody, something happens to Dean.
A noteworthy book for Ryan's meeting with his son, and a glimpse of Jak's new life, but as a book overall, Dark Carnival falls flat in my opinion.
Carnival of Death
by Smite_Me
It was a good book. I liked the part of killing the Zulu warrior and the Rhino. But what really set me off was that Ryan and Dean go to Jak's ranch to keep Dean safe. When Ryan comes back, he leaves the Steyr at the rebout and goes back to Traven with a phoney story about Dean's death. Then when violence breaks out, the Steyr magically appears in Ryan's hand and NO ONE went to the Rebout at all!!!!! But in the end another good book by the people behind James Axler.
by One Eye Chills
Dark Carnival had some of the darkest scenes ever put into the Deathlands saga. It takes place in Florida where I live now, and the group takes on everything from giant mutie snakes to raving lunatics in a strange and bizzarre ville.
I hated the fact that the group got taken hostage so damn easily.
That did not ring true at all with Ryan's survival skill level, but Laurence was probably put out for time constraints and ideas perhaps.
It was still a fun and exciting read nonetheless...
by One Eye Chills
I think Dark Carnival was one of Laurence Jame's horror-type written novels. It got creepier and scarier as it went along.
I liked this one a lot. It took place in the area in which I now live, and it was a hoot to see Laurence's take on Disney Deathlands style!
I didn't like the way the group was taken prisoners so damn easily - that was crap. Ryan and group are too survival and combat smart to be taken so easily. That was my only gripe here.
Other than that, Laurence did what he always did: give us sick and colorful bad guys. Throw us loads of action and adventure.
Give us more insights with Ryan training his son to survive in this brutal world and fit in the group.
How can you not like this combo?!
Dark Indeed.
by aceontheline
Quite a departure from previous DL books and well done for the most part. Yes, the gang were a little too easy to capture. Traven is one of DL's all time best bad guys. I liked Larry's character as well. Dark, twisted and demented yes, but a very entertaining read. Some of the newer stuff should be as good.
Average at best
by ShadowTek
Well, this one was not that good, I agree it started out strong, but also agree that there's no way they would have been captured so easily, what I really didn't buy was the WEAK skinny loser (The Barons son) ran a group of drugged out losers that were actually in charge behind the scene, Ok.. First, this is the Deathlands.. The Sec Boss or somebody would have taken out the useless baron and wasted the "loser" son.. there's no way, NO WAY anyone at that ville could have messed with Ryan and co.. Unless The Sec Boss who was the only competent person there had taken over..

The theme park aspect was cool, and the visit to Jak was great, as I missed my favorite member of the group.. But immediately after finding his son he dumps him off with Jak?

The best way to enjoy this book is to suspend belief a bit (Unless its the first DL book you read) As Ryan and company are not up to there usual best... Its a good book, but not nearly as good as many others.