I took a chance and bought a bunch of $0.99 eBooks for my Kindle. I'd never read them before or even heard of the authors, but I figured that at such a cheap price I didn't really have anything to lose. I've finished a couple so far and the results have varied, but THE OLD MAN AND THE WASTELAND by Nick Cole has definitely been my favorite so far.
Part Ernest Hemingway and part Cormack McCarthy is how a lot of people have referred to this book, and it will definitely appeal to anybody who loves a good post-apocalyptic story. I love everything from Mad Max to the Fallout games, and this is a story which has a little touch of both.

Set 40 years after nuclear war has decimated the world, the story centers around The Old Man (the only name which is given to him in the book) who lives in a small community in the middle of the wasteland. To get by, the villagers make trips out into the waste to find things to salvage. But the other members of the community have deemed The Old Man 'curst' (cursed) and refuse to hunt for salvage with him.
He then decides to head off on his own, deep into the wasteland to try and break this curse. His prized possession is a copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, and although he leaves the physical book at home he carries the story with him.
During his journey he faces many perils including a homicidal hotel owner with a swimming pool full of snakes, a pack of hungry wolves, and a tribe of barbaric mutants. Not to mention nature itself, for finding food, water and shelter is hard enough in itself and is made even worse when he has to deal with everything from extreme heat to flash flooding.
But by the end of it he has broken his curse and finds the greatest salvage of all.

This was a pleasantly surprising read. I'd never before heard of Nick Cole and bought this book on the strength of a small blurb which I read beforehand. The only real criticism I have is that the book is a bit short. In fact I read it in one day. But other than that it was pretty amazing. Cole's writing style is great and the different perspectives shown through the eyes of The Old Man, the wolf pack's Alpha Male and the savage tribal leader helped to break the story up. I really hope that there is some kind of follow up book on the way.

1 comment:

  1. I love post apocalyptic novels and this one was very well done. The Old Man's quest and the tie in with Hemingway's old man was not heavy handed- very effective. The plot kept me wanting to read!