You take a huge step back to a world that existed before all the technology that makes life so much easier. Having to learn to live off the land and all the struggles of right versus wrong that takes place when law and order is corrupt.
Ashes of the Earth : A Mystery of Post-Apocalyptic America
Eliot Pattison's ninth mystery is his first set in a post-apocalyptic community along one of the Great Lakes. It presents a number of his characteristic themes. The setting is a shattered culture, like Tibet after the Chinese invasion in the Shan novels, or the post-Colombian contact setting of the Bone Rattler-Eye of the Raven series.
The main character is emotionally damaged but bound by honor to solve the truth of a murder, even if it kills him -- and he pays for each new nugget of information by suffering physical violence and injury. Characters from the old world carry a sense of survivor's guilt; characters from the new, damaged world are struggling against long odds to find their footing. Somehow these themes seemed very convincing when applied to Tibet -- perhaps because I don't know much about Tibet or Tibetan Buddhism, and the themes reinforced a narrative I was open to believing.
It's been interesting to see how much less compelling these ideas have felt in his other settings, perhaps because they are so saturated with loss that they don't feel real when not anchored in a real historical moment. Ashes of the Earth includes some nods at peace, love, and human decency, but they don't really come into their own until late in the book, too late to define the world of the story.
I think, in this setting, the tale I'd rather have read is the one that starts as this book ends. I am fascinated with near time apocalyptic novels. It's a little bit sick, I know. The first one I recall reading was when I was in high school. I am Legend by Richard Matheson told the story of a man who was alone in a world of zombies or werewolves, the book didn't make that part clear.
Some worldwide disaster again not specified had destroyed society. It was a gripping story, and probably had a lot to do with my continuing fascination with this type of story. The movie that was recently made from it did not even come close to portraying the tension that Matheson evoked in his writing. Ashes of the Earth has some of the tension of I am Legend. The author Pattison does not try to explain in detail what happened to create the setting of the story.
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He dribbles out details as he unfolds this tale of crime and corruption in the post-disaster settlement of survivors on the north shore of Lake Superior, perhaps near Thunder Bay, Ontario. The 'detective' of this 'mystery' , Hadrian Boone who reminds me of Kurt Wallender , stumbles around making mistake after mistake, but in the end gets it all figured out. Many interesting characters are introduced in the story. Each one is presented as faillable, with their mistakes in full display. And the whole story has not been told. If the book is successful, then expect a sequel.
I'll read it. Thirty years after most of the world was destroyed, a group of survivors try to prevent the same catastrophies and behaviors that had doomed civilization the first time. Great group of characters and very good storyline make this an extremely interesting read. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason.
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Ashes of the earth: a mystery of post-apocalyptic America
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Walmart Various American authors, both in-genre and out of it, have depicted the end of the world as we know it. Some are more interested in the how and why, while in others the end of the world is in the background rather than the fore.
Some stories climax in the apocalypse, while others use it as a piece of background setting. Writing depicting the end of the world goes back centuries, and has frequently had a religious cast, but apocalyptic fiction has especially flourished in the past seventy years with the advent of science fiction as a definable genre and with the accelerated development of potentially world-ending technologies, all manner of which have been deployed by different authors to different effects.
The tense Cold War atmosphere provided fuel for many genres, from science fiction to spy thrillers, but it effectively pushed apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, a science fiction theme since H. Wells, into a full-fledged sub-genre of its own. It depicts a conflict in Syria overflowing into a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union that ravages both countries, and is portrayed from the viewpoint of a small town on the Gulf coast.
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American authors have found other ways to end the world. Being over a thousand pages long, The Stand finds plenty of space to describe both the end of the world and its aftermath in detail. This sort of Darwinian parable recalls the novels of English author John Wyndham Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos more than the nuclear doomsday of most American fiction in that era. There is also a variety of fiction that is set after the apocalypse and provides little specification on how that apocalypse started, preferring instead to follow a handful of characters closely through the ruin.
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