Ryan Cawdor and friends fear they have crossed time lines when they encounter an aspiring god-king whose ambitions are straight out of ancient Egypt. In the sands of California's Guadalupe Desert, Ryan must make the right moves to save them from another kind of hell -- abject slavery.
Life is precarious in postapocalyptic America, threatened by the toxic environment and the return to savagery. Born into this bleak reality, Ryan Cawdor roams the hell trails of Deathlands with his band of warrior survivalists. All they know is to endure and seize whatever chance they get for a better tomorrow.
In the sands of California's Guadalupe desert, Ryan and companions fear that they have crossed time lines when they stumble upon a settlement straight out of fabled Egypt. What they find is a rebellion against an aspiring god-king who wants to enslave them. To overcome an enemy with unusual powers, Ryan must bide his time, though his every instinct is to strike out in rage.
I read this DL novel by Mark Ellis over the summer, having already read the semi-sequel to it in the Outlanders series, Mask of the Sphinx.
Nightmare Passage was very enjoyable mainly because it was so different from all the other DL novels I had read, even those by Mark Ellis.
I liked the whole idea of excavating the set of the original version of The Ten Commandments and turning it into the Egyptian city of Aten out in the California desert. I saw that a recent TV movie on the Sci-Fi Channel "borrowed" that element.
I enjoyed Hell Eyes as a villain, particularly the way he kicked Ryan's ass a couple of times. He was the kind of adversary that the Cerberus crew runs up against as a matter of course in Outlanders, and it shows how out-classed the DL group would be in an average OL setting.
It was also interesting to see Krysty save the day for once instead of whimpering and whining "Oh, lover". She really took Hell Eyes apart in a very gruesome sequence.
All the characters got their time in the spotlight in this one, from Mildred to Doc to Jak.
Overall,  Nightmare Passage is a painful reminder of what the DL series could have been if Mark Ellis had stayed on it with his inventive, intelligent plots and sharp characterization.
Also...people have been belly-aching for years that all the continuity between the books stopped after Laurence James left the DL series...Nightmare Passage picks up exactly where the previous book, Watersleep by Terry Collins, left off and the book following Nightmare Passage, Freedom Lost, picked up where it left off.
And these books were published three or so years after Laurence James left.