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Gunpowder & Embers (1) (Last Judgement's Fire) Hardcover – January 7, 2020
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WAR IN THE SMOKING RUINS OF TOMORROW!
Thirty years ago, the world ended. Giant electrovoric ants and pterodons came through a rift in space-time, millions of humans died, and that was that. Human ingenuity has provided some creative workarounds to life without electricity and with giant homicidal ants, but most people merely get by at subsistence level.
For Chuck Gordon, the simple life of a rancher was enough. But then he met a mysterious dying stranger and now he’s on the road of destiny across America accompanied by a warrior monk, a beautiful dragon tamer, a runaway cultist, and a mystic drunken lecher—all searching for the key to reclaiming humanity’s past—and future.
About The Valley of Shadows by John Ringo:
". . . fast-paced . . . building to an exciting climax . . . Ringo and Massa have written an end-of-the-world novel that is unconventional and entertaining."—The Galveston County Daily News
About Black Tide Rising, coedited by John Ringo (featuring stories by Kacey Ezell and Christopher L. Smith):
“. . . an entertaining batch of . . . action-packed tales. Certainly, fans of Ringo’s particular brand of action-adventure will be pleased.”—Booklist
"This anthology broadens Ringo’s Black Tide world, serving up doses of humanity amid the ravenous afflicted. Comedy has a place in this harsh reality, and these stories stir adventure and emotion at a frantic clip throughout. Zombie fiction fans will be thrilled."—Library Journal
About the Black Tide Rising Series:
“Not only has Ringo found a mostly unexplored corner of the zombie landscape, he's using the zombie frame to tackle a broader theme: the collapse and rebirth of civilization. The zombie scenes are exciting, sure, but its the human story that keeps us involved. A fine series.”—Booklist on the Black Tide Rising Series
About John Ringo:
“[Ringo’s work is] peopled with three-dimensional characters and spiced with personal drama as well as tactical finesse.”—Library Journal
“. . . Explosive. . . . Fans . . . will appreciate Ringo’s lively narrative and flavorful characters.”—Publishers Weekly
“. . . practically impossible not to read in one sitting . . . exceedingly impressive . . . executed with skill, verve, and wit.”—Booklist
About the work of Kacey Ezell:
"Gritty, dark and damp. Much like the war itself."—Michael Z. Williamson, best-selling author of A Long Time Until Now
"I loved Minds of Men."—D.J. Butler, best-selling author of Witchy Eye
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Kacey Ezell is an active-duty USAF helicopter pilot who also writes sci-fi/fantasy/alt history/horror fiction. Her first novel was a Dragon Award finalist in 2018, and her stories have been featured in Baen’s Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction compilation in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, her story “Family Over Blood” won the 2018 Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Reader’s Choice Award. She writes for Baen and Chris Kennedy Publishing.
A native Texan by birth (if not geography), Christopher L. Smith moved “home” as soon as he could. While there, he also met a wonderful lady who somehow found him to be funny, charming, and worth marrying. Chris began writing fiction in 2012. His short stories can be found in the anthologies Black Tide Rising, Forged in Blood, and The Good, The Bad, and The Merc, among others. He has co-written two novels, Kraken Mare, with Jason Cordova, and Gunpowder & Embers with John Ringo and Kacey Ezell. A solo urban fantasy novel is currently under construction. His cats allow his family and three dogs to reside with them outside of San Antonio.
- Publisher : Baen (January 7, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1982124288
- ISBN-13 : 978-1982124281
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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A rift opens between worlds/timelines/dimensions? Check. I'm ok with that.
Dragons and spider ants come pouring through the rift? Check. Still onboard. This is sounding pretty cool.
These fantastical beasts, directly and indirectly, lead to the fracture and collapse of society? Check. Interesting enough premise, I want to know more!
As the world fractures, people begin worshiping these creatures or try to tame them? That's probably the most believable thing on this list.
Out of the chaos, a hero arises, a young naive farmboy...seen that a few times before, but fish out of water stories always have a great deal of potential.
The United States military in less than a generation goes from a well trained and disciplined organization sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America to a well trained and disciplined death cult sworn to neutrality and that worships Mikhail Kalashnikov, John Moses Browning, and Chuck Norris?
That is where this book loses me.
Its not that that couldn't happen. Its that it couldn't happen over the short timeline the authors made it happen in. Keeping in mind the book makes no discussion about that happening, its set after that has already happened. There is no discussion of how, or why. It just is...
Which is a pity, because that would have been a heck of a story told over a long enough timeline.
So that's one star off for me.
The book loses the second star because way too many fascinating characters are introduced, developed, and then killed just to introduce additional challenges for the protagonists. Without getting too spoilerific, the heroes are on a boat full of interesting people. So, of course, the boat gets attacked by pirates (no mention of pirates before the attack)...and all the interesting people die just so the heroes spend a couple of pages cold, wet, and miserable while the bad guys close the gap...
So why three stars and not zero?
There are things that I absolutely loved about this book. With the exception of the "drunk", the characters in the story evolve over the course of their journey. Sometimes it felt forced, but largely it felt natural. You understood why the characters acted as they did. You saw their journey and how and why they changed. Huge fan of that.
The world-building was great (other than the military becoming a meme worshiping death cult) and again very logical. You could see, without squinting too hard, why the pockets of civilization behaved as they did.
It was well written. The style is consistent, which is hard to pull off when multiple authors are contributing, but these three made it feel pretty seamless. A note about that, this does not feel or read like a John Ringo book. The consistency of style is not his style. It feels like a John Ringo story, it just doesn't feel like it was written by him.
The story set up is good. Should be a nice universe to write in/about.
But the "voice" of the author isn't John Ringo. Or at least it isn't the John Ringo I've read and enjoyed for years now.
I'm not sure how much and in what area John contributed to this book but is certainly doesn't read like he wrote it himself.
After the two recent collaborations he published with Mike Massa ( which also unfortunately also don't read as vintage Ringo ) and now this one I've got to seriously consider any future books that don't come out under his name alone.
This book is kind of OK but not what I expected. Not talking plot here. Only talking about the way the words string together.
As a previous reviewer said it's a $2.99 book, not more.
I buy and read books not only for the plot but for the style. And of the two style is more important to me.
I certainly hope John Ringo isn't going down the trail that others have taken and putting his name on stuff just for a paycheck. Wouldn't think he needs it by now but ...
The narrative voice is not Ringo. We are spared his habit, which is fine at first reading though exponentially more irritating upon 2nd, 4th, and 5th reading haha, of introducing a a topic in dialogue then veering into 3 pages of explanation before continuing the dialogue. There are no exhaustive explanations of military history and minutia. Which, again, are great. The first time around.
But this book is also fundamentally John Ringo. He writes what he likes, the reader is always aware that he is enjoying penning the rollicking tale as much as we enjoy reading it. And the Easter eggs are sublimely tasty. I mean, c'mon, electrivore ants and pterasaur dragons from a dimensional rift plus post-apocalyptic America. Um, yes pls?!?
Perhaps the addition of 2 co-authors does water down his "style." In some ways, that is actually better.
This book is just a good time. It never wanted to be the great American Novel. It wanted, and 110% achieves, being a great read with great characters. Plot holes? Oh, you betcha. Deus ex machina? I'll take two. Or three. Lol But it doesn't matter. The characters are well drawn, stay true to themselves, and are interesting and often captivating.
This is the story of the Quest. Classic, archetypal, and just a darn good time.
I say this book is a bullseye and look forward to more!
I think the authors found crossing a broken bridge to be much more frightening in their heads.
I read this for the Ringo. Im not quite sure who wrote what, my feeling is biased that all the good parts are Ringo based.
Worth $2.99..... but not the current price.