Nuclear war devastated the planet of Hemera and shattered its main city, Magna. A century later, its sister planet, Erebus, despatched a team of soldiers to the city to rescue Hemera’s president and restore that world to its former glory. What the reconnaissance team found however was a violent mutated population—all they discovered there was death.
Several weeks after the first contingent of soldiers were despatched to Hemera on an ill-fated reconnaissance mission (The Dead Lands), another larger, elite force has travelled from Erebus to Hemera in order to rescue any survivors. Headed by Colonel Paden who couldn’t really care less about his soldiers, and has his sights firmly set on the treasure he believes is buried beneath the presidential palace. The Superior Armed Forces are aware from previous reports that Hemera’s capital, Magna, is overrun by mutants, but were unprepared for the magnitude of their task and the swarms of creatures which greeted their disembarkation.
Humanoid in stature, but with leathery skin turned red by a relentless sun, hungry mutants charged into the arriving Erebus soldiers in a vicious tide. A few paces ahead of her, a soldier turned his Berserker towards three creatures scampering across the dust, but they were too nimble and swamped him before he could unleash a round. Her colleague collapsed under their assault, the first mutant driving a long blade of steel into the gap between helmet and body armor before yanking it clear.
The action is non stop from that moment with terrifying battle scenes and lots of carnage on both sides. Written in the third person, it gives excellent, and sometimes poignant, insights into the characters, as we get to know the dynamics and great mix of personalities and motivations. They all inspire strong emotions and are crafted exceptionally well – those you love and those you love to hate. My favourites are Ryan and his sister, Jayde, along with several others. I know it’s a mistake to get too attached (it took me a while to get over Lane) as Dylan Morgan has no scruples about killing off characters, good as well as bad.
There are so many motivating forces in this story, including hate, greed, love, fear, honour and principles relating to loyalty and conduct. I know from reading previous books there is never a happy ever after, but this finishes with a completely unexpected and terrifically awful twist at the end, which I hope means the story isn’t over just yet, although I think I’ve visualised enough body parts and gore flying around to keep me going for a little while 😉
The writing is as descriptive and detailed as always, with well defined characters, and a fast paced plot. If I can use the three Gs again – gritty, gruesome and great! Those words do seem to encapsulate Dylan Morgan’s books.
This book is reviewed for Rosie Amber‘s book review team and is based on an ARC from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About Dylan J Morgan
Now living and working in Norway, Dylan J. Morgan was born in New Zealand and raised in the United Kingdom. He writes during those rare quiet moments amid a hectic family life: after dark, with limited sustenance, and when his creative essence is plagued the most by tormented visions.
If you’re searching for that light at the end of the tunnel then stop looking—you won’t find it here.