Like Stephen King's The Stand before it, THE DEAD LANDS is an incredible novel set across the sprawling landscape of a nightmarish post-apocalyptic American West.
The world we know is gone, destroyed by a virus that wiped out nearly every human on the planet. Some few survivors built walled cities, fortresses to keep themselves safe from those the virus didn't kill... but did change.
Sanctuary. A citadel in the heart of the former United States of America. Hundreds of miles in every direction beyond its walls lies nothing but death and devastation. Everyone who lives in the safety Sanctuary provides knows that.
Until the day a stranger appears. She speaks of a green and fertile land far to the west, a land of promise and plenty, safe from the ruin the virus has wreaked. She has come to lead the survivors away from Sanctuary, to the promise of a new life without walls.
But those who follow her will discover that not everything she says is true.
A postapocalyptic America mired in political intrigues serves as the backdrop for this visionary thriller from Percy (Red Moon). Years after a super-flu and nuclear Armageddon have decimated civilization, the remnants of U.S. citizenry cower inside the Sanctuary, a foundering stronghold on the outskirts of St. Louis, the tyrannical leaders of which rule by fearmongering and intimidation. When a visiting emissary from Oregon proves that life flourishes elsewhere, bookish Lewis Meriwether and rugged Wilhemina Clark flee with an entourage of fugitives. They embark on a northwestern trek through the wilderness known as the Dead Lands, mirroring the historical exploration of America's Louisiana Purchase. Percy throws a number of frightening obstacles in his adventurers' way, including giant spiders, enormous predatory bats, and human slavers, but the greatest challenges his characters face are their own doubts about the future and their place in the society they are fleeing to. With its fluid integration of reflections on American values and freedoms into a near-future scenario whose dramas resonate with the contemporary zeitgeist, this novel is a reminder that the best speculative fiction speaks to the concerns and issues of its time.