Fascinating, fast-moving, unapologetically brutal…
Action-packed adventure and intricate worldbuilding sweep through Hladky’s exhilarating second installment in the post-apocalyptic saga, The Book of Ruins series, which delves into themes of valor, integrity, power, and trust. The ‘flash,’ an apocalyptic event that flung the world back into the middle-ages, is a thing of the past, but the world is still grappling with its aftermath. After losing his father to the brutality of Shadowlanders, Ranger Lovecraft Weir, Senior Chief Weir’s great grandsire, has joined the forces at NATO. The Dark Age is tormenting the lands. A deadly plague, with its power to mutate at an alarming rate is spreading like wildfire. The NATO forces are tasked with saving the world from the disease while dealing with the ruthless Shadowlanders, who are wreaking havoc everywhere they go. The stakes rise when a traitor betrays the alliance, and Shadowlander tribes unite to annihilate the rest of the world. Lovecraft, accompanied by his friends, sets out to protect the lands. Hladkey employs crisp, assured prose to assemble an elaborate post-Flash world inhabited by diverse, complex people, including the savage and vicious Shadowlanders, regular folks trying to survive, skinnies, and soldiers fighting for freedom. The intriguing interplay between the various characters keep the story engrossing, and the expert pacing and intricate plotting allow readers to truly enter this post-apocalyptic world. Haunting accounts of disease-ravaged lands, genetic mutations, a looming threat of war, and the characters’ individual struggles add rich texture throughout. Hladky capably uses a blend of science fiction and fantasy to highlight a bleak and dismal future. The Shadowlanders’ mythicized practices, including brutal killings, rape, and savagery among others underline the mankind’s darkest moments in a post-apocalyptic world. However, the themes of enduring friendships, tender love (Bazkowski and Sarah’s), sacrifice, duty, responsibility, and solidarity are weaved in expertly, offering both hope and warmth. The shockingly brutal violence and bloodshed may seem a bit too much, particularly to the ones faint of heart. But considering the setting of a ruined world that sees all the characters into the middle of dark ages, nothing less will have made sense. Hladky’s world is extremely intricate, and readers will benefit from reading the series in order to get a better grasp of the fast-moving story. Readers will be both fascinated and entertained by this fast-paced apocalyptic adventure, which doubles as a contemplation on all-destructive power of nature and human violence. An epic tale of action and adventure, this is a treat for gritty SF action fans.
The Flashfall Sword
By W.G. Hladky
Middle River Press
Pub date July 28, 2019
Price $12.99 (USD) Paperback, $3.25 Kindle edition