Monday, August 15, 2016

The Emperor's Railroad

I have been on vacation the last week, so have not had much hobby time, but I did get a chance to read a few books, including the Emperor's Railroad by Guy Haley.

Set roughly 1000 years past an apocalypse of some sort, this novella is a recounting of an experience a young boy has with the Knight Quinn as he helps the boy and his mother move from one town to another.  A knight is something of a paladin sort, with access to tools and technologies forbidden to the general population by the Angels. (Aliens? AI? Actual fallen/descended Angels?).  There are also technological artifacts and the undead, which makes for a dangerous trip.

Anyway, the book was good, and I liked its very gritty look at a post apocalyptic world. Characters were well written, and I got a grasp of their motivations and histories fairly quickly. Unfortunately the "book" was very short at 176 pages of fairly large type, and more, it felt a bit short too.  A longer version of this same story would have been very welcome.  That said, I am looking forward to reading the next volume in the series, The Ghoul King, which just was released a month ago.

Another part of this book that I enjoyed was thinking about how well it would fit for a sort of "gonzo" D&D campaign world.  Want to do dungeon crawls where you might fight Zombies/Robots/Dragons/AI/cultists?  Knights with swords and pistols? Well this setting could easily handle all of that, and plenty of detail is available from this book to give your future world a nice gloss. Just the sub title of "the dreaming cities" gets my brain working on ideas, and really that is the sign of a good setting.

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