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From the creator of Deathlands comes...
An all-new series by James Axler!
Enter the future -- a postholocaust world where the struggle between the classes takes on a whole new reality...where the misery of the final conflagration gives way to a promise of a new beginning...and where the inhabitants of the planet find themselves facing a new, all-powerful enemy....
The author, James Axler, 04/19/97:(posted to amazon.com)
A Judgment Day, a shocking new reality begins!
In the aftermath of the Russian-American conflict in that end-of-the-world year 2001, America became the Deathlands. Two centuries later, a new order emerges to inflict its rule on the fortified cities. Beyond the walls are the Outlands, where a fragile freedom remains. Once a fearsome warrior of the new order, Kane discovers a secret that has damned humanity since the dawn of history. Now, banished to the outlands, he joins forces with Baptiste, golden-haired keeper of the archives, and Grant, brother-in-arms and weapons specialist. In the place that was once called New Mexico, Kane finds the first hidden clues to humanity's future. Outlanders is the first in a new series, set 94 years beyond the current Deathlands timeline. It combines high adventure with all the blazing action Deathlands and James Axler fans have come to expect. The cover is very nice, too. For a preview of it, check the "Demons of Eden" listing.
America had barely survived the nuclear holocaust but two centuries later a new order emerges to inflict its rule on the fortified cities. Beyond the walls are the Outlands, where a fragile freedom remains.
Once a fearsome warrior of the new order, Kane discovers a secret that has damned humanity since the dawn of history. Now banished as an enemy of the state, he joins forces with Brigid Baptiste, keeper of the archives, and Grant, brother-in-arms and innovative weapons specialist.
In the place that was once called New Mexico, Kane finds the first hidden clues to humanity's future.Coming to grips with the shocking truth behind the new reality...
This Ain't Your Father's Deathlands
When I first heard that there was going to be a spin-off from Deathlands, I was both excited and apprehensive. Apprehensive because frankly it seemed like Deathlands was already getting a bit tired, so what could be fresh and interesting with another series playing in the same setting?
It turns out I need not have worried.
In science fiction fandom there is a common term used -- retcon. It is short for retroactive continuity, and it is what happens when a new writer comes into an established series and completely turns it on its ear without breaking established continuity. The writer instead creates a new continuity that redefines everything you know about the series in a way that is completely consistent with past stories.
Boy howdy, Mark Ellis has done that in spades with this book. Over the course of a few hundred pages he makes the existence of the redoubts and the gateways completely plausable, overshadows Skydark with a new and far-reaching menace, and introduces a new society built on the ashes of the Deathlands. Even better, he subversively introduces lead characters that initially appear to be carbon copies of the Deathlands cast before taking them in completely new directions and endowing them with their own unique personalities.
As for the story itself, it is an adrenaline-pumping read that starts out at a fast gallop and never looks back. Before this book, Deathlands was always a guilty pleasure for me. This book, and the entire Outlanders series, is in an entirely different class.
Better late than never
I don't know why I haven't reviewed this first entry in the Outlanders saga before now. Since I re-read it over the weekend, I realized that I never did so I'll rectify that now.
Exile to Hell was not the first book in the series I read, but the third. I read the fifth one first, Parallax Red and the fourth one second, Omega Path. About a quarter of the way through Parallax Red I suspected that some of the nasty stuff about the series I'd seen posted on a couple of Deathlands sites was not just incorrect but outright lies.
The lies were proven to be so by the outstanding quality of the series. Nope, Outlanders sure wasn't your daddy's Deathlands or anybody's Deathlands. Thank God, since there had been about a jillion of those type of series published in the 80s through the early 90s.
Exile to Hell staked out new territory, and the series itself continues to do so, over five years later but the courage to take chances instead of going to safe formula stories like in DL was evident even in this first book. It continues to grow and broaden its appeal.
Outlanders is NOT a post-nuke series or a survivalist series. It's a sci-fi adventure series first, that just happens to take place 200 years after a nuclear war. If you measure it against the tiresome formula of DL and other generic post-nuke series, then yeah...it doesn't have a lot those cliches.
Now that DL has pretty much been turned over the revolving door system of multiple writers it lost whatever uniqueness it had. Its appeal has shrunk and narrowed until it seems now to have only two kinds of readers--teenaged boys and truck drivers...or teenaged boys who will grow up to be truck drivers.
I saw a reviewer of Hell Rising refer to Outlanders as a cult series, implying that DL has more broad appeal. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth. DL's audience has been so marginalized it's almost a fringe readership. And if Outlanders really is a "cult series", then it's in good company with Star Trek, X-Files, and a whole lot of other things.
I started reading DL when I was 15 and read it regularly, every book until I was about 22. I continued reading it, off and on for about six or seven years after that. Funny thing, over 15 years since I read the first DL book, I can't think of anything that I took,philosophically, from the series. But here is a short list of what I took and still take from the Outlanders series:
* That friendship is good.
* That greed and dominating other people is bad.
* That "good guys" come in various shapes and sizes, all nationalities, religions and even both sexes.
* That heroic people have ordinary concerns, and that ordinary people can be heroic.
* That personal commitment and moral responsibility to your fellow human beings and the world at large are preferable to personal power and doing whatever you have to do to survive another day.
* That both good and evil work covertly, and often, it requires attention and involvement to a larger cause to discriminate one from the other.
* That you might lose a battle, but you can still win the war, so long as you remain cool under fire and are willing to lay it all on the line.
* And that in the end, the secret of life is courage, friendship and some smart-ass remarks
A modern classic of sci-fi adventure
Exile to Hell is the first in the Outlanders series and in my opinion it stands as a modern classic! I read this again recently between Awakening and Mad God's Wrath and it still holds up.
This is the book that introduced me to all the great characters and ideas that I'm still reading about nearly 7 years later.
I was only 13 when I first read it back in June of 1997 and I thought it might come off as a little lame now that I'm older. Actually the opposite! I found more things in it that indicated events to come down the road in the series.
The first appearances of Kane, Brigid, Grant, Lakesh, Domi even Balam--great stuff! The scenes set in Nightmare Alley really are nightmarish!
I wish more people discovered this series! I love the Outlanders series but after seeing the Deathlands TV movie I don't think any producer should try to make Exile to Hell on TV. It needs a multi-million dollar budget!
The only way I could recommend this book more is to buy it for people and bring it to their houses.
The best sci-fi series begins!
by The Phantom
Very well done. This is great sci-fi stuff. This book makes more sense if you read the first few Deathlands books, but it's not a problem if you haven't. Mark Ellis, writing as James Axler, tells a good story full of action, adventure, X-files-like conspiracy, and characters you really come to like.
The characters in this story find themselves leading their lives the only way they know, living under a powerful authority. Their basic needs are provided for in exchange for a commitment to the Baron and a restricted lifestyle.
Events take place that reveal that the life that they know is not what it seems, that corruption in authority abounds, conspiracies govern their lives, and the main focus of this novel is the beginning of Kane and Grant's rebellion against the Baron and all he stands for.
Excellent introduction to all main characters for the series also. Make sure you see how it all started, get this book now, even if you have to shell out some bucks to order it online.
I can't recommend this book enough for new readers who are not only looking for a fresh new series, but are fans of the sci-fi genre.
Hooked from the start
by Cerberus Man
I picked up this novel about six years ago and was hooked on the Outlanders series from the start!
It was exactly the kind of action-adventure sci-fi series I'd been wanting to read but hadn't been able to find. I was particularly drawn to all the conspiracy theories woven throughout. I've re-read Exile to Hell three times and even paid more than I should have for the audio book of it.
To me, this novel in the series stands as classic, with the introduction of Kane, Grant, Brigid, Lakesh, Domi and the whole set-up with the villes and the baronies.
I was never interested in the usual post-nuke series since most of them were too scientifically absurd to suspend my disbelief.
Exile to Hell was something refreshingly different and it still remains that way!
I hope if Hollywood ever makes an Outlanders movie, they start with this book.
An Outstanding Start.
From the point of view that its slang and much of its background is heavily steeped in being a spin-off of Deathlands, Mark Ellis took this first book and started it off on an incredible spin. It was an amazing balance of raw action, alien domination intrigue, and sheer awe and wonder.
After already knowing the characters from later books, it was VERY interesting to see where they came from, and how much they've changed, while at their core, they've remained recognizable, and vibrant. The series is much different today, and yet, with a starting book like this with so many different tableaus of action and world exploration, it's hard not to see how this series wasn't meant to change and evolve. This book runs like a good chocolate shake down my throat.
EXILED TO HEAVENLY READING!
by One Eye Chills
Ahh, how long ago it seems that this magnificent series began. What could be better in the DEATHLANDS universe but an all-new series that takes the mythos in a new and exciting direction - forward into the future!
Mark Ellis's debut novel here was entirely captivating in a myriad of ways. From exhausting action/adventure to new and exciting characters that flew off the pages.
Outlanders I knew right away was going to be a huge hit. I remember being dumbfounded by thinking this was Laurence James's writing, and how different and fresh it was from his normal fare.
And then, low and behold, I find that it is someone else writing this. Mark Ellis has been a great addition to the Gold Eagle library, writing both Outlanders and Deathlands and lauching them both into sci-fi/fantasy legendary status.
First Axler book I ever read ... wont be the last
I found this book at a local used bookstore for 3.50 so i decided to grab it. I was quite pleased by it the story was very involving and I found myself up at 2 in the morning saying ... ok I'll just read on more chapter than I'll go to bed. By the time I finished the chapter something had happened through out it that peaked my curiosity again and I found myself reading the next to again repeat the whole process again. One thing that was disappointing was the fact that the mystery of Kane's father was solved in this book ... I definately thought it was going to be a mystery drawn out throught a few of the books. Cant wait to get my hands on book 2.