Barred from crossing the NorthAm border, Clay McAulay, his AI copilot Gibbons, and their battle mech are forced to flee into the warped and twisted territory of the Midlands. A desolate, dreary landscape filled with denizens of questionable character, the Midlands has the reputation of a place folks want to avoid on their travels.
Few ever enter, almost none ever leave.
Clay is quickly embroiled in a conflict between the townsfolk of Perdition Plains and a mad scientist who may have discovered the secrets to immortality. Clay tries to extricate himself from the volatile situation, but as always, trouble keeps its grip on him, and he is soon fighting against a foe he'd never thought possible: a mech made entirely of dead flesh!
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"The hat again? You're obsessed"
The fact that I had not read Fighting Iron 1 didn't matter in the least - the writer drew me instantly into the story as Clay's fighting mech was under attack, damaged and had to force land in a depression in the dessert. Great action, yes, but it was the bantering dialogue between the pilot and his A.I. that held me captive and continued to do so to the very last words. All of this repartee is perfectly caught by the narrator, J.Scott Bennett and I especially enjoyed his variation of Gibbon's speaking as the A.I. transfered out of his mechanical housing and into an alternative 'meatbag' for part of their forced stay in Perdition Plains.
Clay and Gibbons are great characters, and find themselves surrounded by a cast of other oddballs unexpectedly found living, well, sort of, in Perdition. The story has action aplenty, much of it gory and involving numerous body parts put to work in unconventional ways Not for the S.F. purist, probably, but great fun in a dystopian creative zombie sort of way
As mentioned previously, the narration is excellent with Scott Bennett's somewhat unusual voice absorbing and mirroring the story. He is even able to partially obscure the repetitious intrusions of, "he said", and, "he asked" etc. during conversational passages, useful on the printed page but often irritating to hear. Jake Bible's writing is good, the humour sometimes laugh out loud and the protagonists fresh (well, some of them!) and cleverly sculpted. Altogether a great listen. My thanks to the right's holder who gifted me a copy of this book, via Audiobook Boom - I enjoyed it immensely. So much so that I am now off to purchase a copy of the first Fighting Iron audio. And I'm hoping that there will also be a third ...
- Norma Miles