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As a member of the Tracker society, Brickman has grown up deep underground, protected from the radiation of the blue-sky world above. The lure of this open space fills him with both fear and excitement, as he anticipates piloting his first mission against the sub-human Mutes. But all does not go as smoothly as planned, as the clan M'Call kidnaps Steve and puts him under the strange tutelage of the mysterious Mr Snow.

Captivated by the beautiful Clearwater and befriended by the stoic Cadillac, Brickman soon discovers that there is more to the Mutes than his masters would have him believe. Eyes now open to the Mute's humanity, Brickman is torn by a painful divided loyalty. And now, it seems, he has become embroiled in an ancient Mute prophecy; that of the Talisman, the one who will save them all. Cloud Warrior , first published in , is the first instalment of Patrick Tilley's internationally best selling science fiction epic, The Amtrak Wars Saga.

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The Talisman Prophecies Part 1

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Fall, Or Dodge In Hell. Tilley alive and well and if so will a 7th book be written so we, the loyal fans can see if the federatiuon wins out or if the combo of brickman and mute powers can win.

Amtrak wars

Last edited: Sep 27, Michael B , Sep 14, Here is probably the lenghtiest discussion on the topic. Rob B , Sep 14, We only start up author's forums if there is enough discussion in to warrant or if the author asks us to host their official forum. Believe me, we have a pretty good handle on how to run our forums here.

Rob B , Sep 27, Just started re-reading this series and it was surprising how well it's stood up. I got into the books when I was 14 and I was dreading picking up the first volume and finding it had aged horribly, and it's actually still decent. I'm impressed with how fast the story moves and how well Tilley transmits worldbuilding information to the audience whilst keeping the pages flying past. The writing is a little rough and the storyline is very straightforward in Book 1 compared to where the political intrigue goes later on, but it's still good stuff.

In answer to the long-ago-asked question, apprently Tilley wanted to complete the series as a trilogy and was still working on it as recently as early , but no word since then. Werthead , May 31, The cities of the United States were seared from the face of the Earth in a nuclear holocaust unleashed by the evil 'Mutes', malformed immigrants whose only desire was to destroy all that was beautiful and good about this great country.

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The Amtrak Federation: a network of underground cities and overland way-stations that grew out of a few bunkers where the top-ranking politicians and generals of the United States rode out a thermonuclear war. Forced to abandon the surface world due to radiation, the descendants of the survivors dug out a vast subterranean, high-tech civilisation where everyone knows their place and does their bit to help society survive, whilst the wise and just First Family rules over everything.

Once radiation levels had dropped to a relatively safe level, the Federation emerged to retake the surface world. Unfortunately, they found that the Mutes had prospered and multiplied to truly frightening numbers in the intervening centuries. The Federation's response is to build enormous foot-long wagon-trains and send them into Mute territory to begin the process of conquest and purification. With the Southern Mutes cowed, the Federation dispatches one of its most decorated trains, the Lady from Louisiana, and its air wing deep into the heart of the territory of the northern Mutes, or the Plainfolk as they call themselves.

But the Plainfolk are a hardier breed with unusual weapons at their command, and in the epic Battle of the Now and Then River the clan M'Call drives off the Lady and takes one of its pilots captive. For Steve Brickman, captivity amongst the Mutes is a terrifying prospect, but as he plots his escape he learns from his captors a radically different version of history and begins to question the very foundations of the society he was born into. It is a cross-genre story, incorporating elements of post-apocalyptic SF fiction with the Western and epic fantasy with North America standing in for a Middle-earth clone as the landscape and, in later books, Shogun-style historical fiction as well.

There is also a strong, often darkly comical subversive and satirical streak as well, with the Amtrak Federation itself coming over as a fascist state which employs some of the rhetoric and traditions of the 20th Century United States. Tilley himself spent a lot of time in the USA in the s and s and appears to be something of an Americanphile not just in the Wars but also in his excellent disaster novel Fade-Out , but his use here of many of the traditions and 'feel' of the US government and military in the hands of an unelected dictatorship is effectively disturbing.

However, I gather that American readers got the impression that Tilley was taking the mickey instead, perhaps accounting for its low sales in the USA compared to its much greater success in the UK, Canada and Australia. In the first book, it is fair to say that Tilley is still getting a feel for the story. His previous novels had been an SF-tinged disaster scenario called Fade-Out and a rather bizarre story about Jesus turning up in modern New York Mission , so Cloud Warrior represented a rather unusual new direction.

The tone of the writing here is less formal than in his earlier novels, and it has to be said that the prose jumps around in its remoteness from the reader at one point directly addressing the reader in a rather jarring fourth-wall-breaking moment. Some scenes take place in the limited third person perspective that is now traditional in epic fantasy, but most adopt an omnipresent viewpoint which feels curiously old-fashioned and this is a book that's 26 years old but not ineffective.

It's a tribute to Tilley's vivid and well-conceived if somewhat barmy story, characters and setting that the book overcomes these problems and roars along like a greyhound on crack. The traditional modern fantasy approach of the author spending two hundred pages just clearing their throat has no truck here as we are whizzed through the Amtrak Federation's air force training programme, introduced a dozen protagonists in both the Mute and Tracker camps and machine-gunned with inventive concepts and ideas although luckily most are revisited later under somewhat more relaxed circumstances in less than a hundred pages.

The book hangs on its characters and one of The Amtrak Wars' trademark concepts is that half of those characters are tools whom you want to spend a fair amount of time beating the hell out of, most notably Steve 'All-American Hero' Brickman, whose arrogance and pig-headedness makes him a hero that's hard to like. However, he is also only 17 and the result of a disturbing indoctrinated upbringing, and as the book progresses and you see the scales falling from his eyes a bit , the reader warms to him a bit more.

Amongst the other characters, Steve's Mute antithesis Cadillac is well-drawn but is also a bit of a plank the contrast between these two characters' developmental arcs over the course of the series is extremely well-handled , with the most fascinating character in the book being Mr. Snow, the Mutes' chief wordsmith and summoner who fulfils the traditional mentor role, although his approach of thinking his would-be students are total morons is refreshing Mr. Snow is the missing link between Gandalf and Abercrombie's Bayaz. Other characters such as the inevitable romantic interest Clearwater are a bit one-note in this first volume, whilst later, more important characters like Jodi Kazan and Steve's sister Roz barely get more than a few lines.

There is also an intriguing mention of a group called the 'iron masters' and a typical cliffhanger ending, setting up the inevitable sequel, First Family. The writing is a bit all over the place, though never less than readable, but settles down in the later, stronger volumes. The novel is not currently in print but second-hand copies appear to be readily available in the UK and USA.

Michael B , Jun 1, Werthead , Jun 2, Book Two: First Family plot summary spoiler-protected. Instead he is arrested as a deserter and narrowly escapes death before being sent to menial, ball-busting work in the A-levels.

According to the doctrines of the First Family, the rulers of the Amtrak Federation, Mutes do not take prisoners, and that 'truth' cannot be contradicted. But now Brickman knows something of the truth the Family has other plans for him, and for his Mute friends Werthead , Jun 3, Great stuff, keep it coming! Used to love these books, after reading through this I'm definately going to track them down. Maccers54 , Jun 4,