J.D.G. PerldeinerJ.D.G. Perldeiner is an aspiring advocate, a historian, and a medievalist-in-exile. He spends his days dreamingof times long past, or those yet to come. He can sometimes be found in a courtroom, but more often in his study or wandering the halls of Yukon at Hart’s Ford. He lives with his wife in Patriot’s Hold
The great fires have gone out. The heavens are stalked by storm and darkness. The holdings of men are scattered, broken, disparate. The wilderness has reclaimed the land. This is the world in 198 Anno Cataclysmos, since the monks of Haven began their count. Now, in this dark and dying age, the survivors of the Burners and thrax turn upon each other. For the monks of Haven, the chiefest good is knowledge, and the written word. For the folk of Groton there can be nothing that gainsays their holy writ-including the sacred library that informs the Province of all things past.
Tiber the Novice must go with the snide Brother Berengar to seek aid from the strange cousins of Haven, the lords of Sikorsky. Westward, they must travel, along the broken high roads of the ancient ones, over the icy waters of the Low Tonic, and into the foreboding halls of Sikorsky Castle. There can be no victory without the aid of the Duke, and even with it they will match sword and shield against ancient weapons.
Meanwhile, the Dragon, long prophesied, stirs. Vera the machine-speaker travels with her scavenging tribesfolk toward Haven. The Province is poised on the brink of a new devastation.
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A future, medievalesque society in the remains of New England faces a new barbarism in this debut sci-fi novel.
Two centuries after a “Cataclysm” laid waste to humanity, the former Connecticut coast is now a patchwork of settlers and “scavs” (scavengers), subsisting and preying upon one other among the ruins and shattered technologies of ancestors now seen as demigods. Many of the region’s denizens cleave to religious sects that evolved from ill-remembered pre-Cataclysm ideas. “Greens” aren’t environmentalists, but degraded followers of a military commander named Kevin Green, whose (allegedly) transcribed words comprise their sacred text. The Greens rule the “Grotons”—heavily armed, weapons-obsessed invaders from the old nuclear submarine base, where one doomsday device may still be operational. Haven is a Catholic-style abbey, risen from a long-gone college community; its monks worship no gods, but they do venerate rare written knowledge (“Logos”) and protect it from periodic raids by “Burners,” who seek to destroy all written matter. The monks are under increasing attack by Groton fanatics, and they send out an emergency party to seek the aid of a powerful duke. It turns out that a vital “key” to some exceptionally dangerous technology has been stolen by a Gollum-like scav called Skrimshanks. Meanwhile, Jeremiah Ford, the rebel son of a religious zealot, carries heretical intel that could undermine the Kevin Green cult. Although Perldeiner’s novel is published by a small press specializing in post-apocalyptic fiction, his saga of retro-medieval violence and intrigue may appeal to a readership looking for more than mere body counts. It doesn’t lack for mayhem, but it also shows fealty to Walter M. Miller Jr.’s 1960 classic of a revived Dark Ages, A Canticle for Lebowitz. There are rather a lot of quests and MacGuffins in play that result in characters scurrying furtively about—until a third-act conflict of J.R.R. Tolkien-like proportions with a Tom Clancy-like twist. The author has also invented a Latin-influenced argot for many of the characters (with a helpful glossary upfront), but it doesn’t detract from the rousing yarn.
Creative anachronisms abound in this exciting tale of a post-apocalyptic future.