Publisher: GraphicAudio (2005)
Narrator: Richard Rohan, Terence Aselford, Tymberlee Chanel, Nanette Savard, Cate Torre, and Mort Shelby
Audio length: Approximately 8 hours
Blurb from Amazon.com: Life in twenty-second-century America is an odyssey of pain and death. Savagely transformed by atomic fallout, what remains of humanity endures an internacine war against those who thrive on chaos and bloodshed. A legend in a violent land, Ryan Cawdor lives and fights by his own rules as he and his companions traverse the grim world of Deathlands. For as long as the future remains out of reach, survival means living long enough to face a new day.
Hearing a rumor that the Trader, his old teacher and friend, is still alive, Ryan and his warrior group struggle across the treacherous Texas desert to find the truth. But an enemy with a score to settle is in hot pursuit and so is the elusive Trader. The preDark city of Sonora preserved for a century in the salt and sand of the nukescape becomes the staging ground for a showdown between mortal enemies, where the scales of revenge and death will be balanced with brutal finality.
In the Deathlands, the only law is lawlessness.
I'm willing to admit publicly to my addiction: The Deathlands series by James Axler. I don't mean to be addicted; it is simply something that happened. Of course the awesome cast and sound effects of GraphicAudio might have something to do with it.
Also, I have a weakness for post-apocalyptic settings. It usually creates a mix of independent gunslinger life with modern to future tech and weapons. Deathlands throws in some mutants and AI to make it that much more adventurous.
In Bloodfire, #64 in the series (how the heck do you get to 64?!?), Ryan and his companions (Dean Cawdor, J. B. Dix, Jak Lauren, Doc Tanner, Krysty Wroth, Mildred Wyeth) are on the run from both Baron Gaza and The Scorpion King while on the look out for The Trader. As they travel across what once was Texas, they come across a strange group of people. They live underground and subsist for an indefinite lifespan upon a single drink (perhaps made from some mutant scorpion). Of course, once you have a sip, you can't walk away from it, needing the poison to continue living.
Ryan and crew manage to walk away, with these strangers in pursuit, to stumble across a pre-Dark city hidden beneath the salt flat. Seeking safety and shelter, they get more than expected. The city is still guarded by some nearly-indestructible armored AIs. Add to that those in pursuit and you get a hell of an adventure story.
The audio production was intense and had me not wanting to put this book down. I truly enjoy the full cast along with the sound effects.
Pluses: Post-apocalyptic world; lots of mutant beasties; plethora of bad guys; very plot driven and fast paced.
Minuses: Little to no character development; the only sex int his book was a rape (which was not covered in detail).