Geek Lit: Benjamin Wallace’s “Knights of the Apocalypse (A Duck & Cover Adventure)”

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I’m generally a little wary of self-published novels due to being burned too many times in the past.  That said, I do greatly enjoy the work of Benjamin Wallace.  His Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors was a fun and funny take on the sort of world where Mad Max might feel more or less at home.

And then I found he wrote a sequel.  How was it?  Review and possible SPOILERS after the cut.

Well, it was a ton of fun.  The book picks up some time after the original, where our former librarian, current post-apocalyptic nomadic warrior Jerry is wandering down a road with his wife Erica, looking for a get a fuel pump for their truck.  They had to flee the town of New Hope since bounty hunters kept showing up looking for them as a direct result of their actions in the previous novel taking down a death truck full of military types that were looking to murder and enslave any survivors they found.

Jerry’s gotten a lot better at the nomadic warrior thing since we last saw him, and he has good support in Erica (plus a large dog named Chewy).  Things go downhill when they get to the trading town of Durango and learn that though the part exists, they lack the required currency to pay for it.  Then a bounty hunter shows up and fails to catch Jerry and Erica but succeeds in getting the local guards to arrest the two of them for disturbing the peace.

What makes Durango different?  Well, it has a king and a bunch of knights.  Guns are prohibited, but the place does have a good sense of pageantry.  It should.  The “king” was a member of a traveling Renaissance Faire prior to the world going belly up, and the group just kept things going with him in charge.  Too bad the prince is something of a jerk…

What follows is Jerry and Erica being split up.  Jerry is sent on a quest to find a kidnapped princess while Erica has to stay in town with a woman who claims she used to know Jerry.

Wallace has two gifts that help him out here:  his sense of humor is great, and he can write a good action scene.  Combine that with a canny sense of the genre and what can and can’t happen, and what’s left is a fun, fast work.  Wallace ends the book with a cliffhanger, and I will read it when it comes out.

My only issue is the first chapter doesn’t seem to really fit in too well with the rest of the book.  I can see a bit of why it is thematically important, but it doesn’t really follow along with the narrative except as a “before and after” sort of thing.  As I result, I’m going to give this one nine out of ten Aztec mutants.  The Aztecs were creepy…not like the thing in Dallas or the super-smart bears of the previous book, but creepy.

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