A review by John Welsh,
For readers who like some sci-fi accompanied by horror and adventure, Kenneth Brown’s novella Into The Savage (Nomad’s Pursuit) should most certainly appeal. Although the first chapter can be slightly cumbersome on lengthy descriptions, the rest of the text is a decent read with more than a passing interest in what’s comes next.
Set in a post-nuclear age with disease also apparently rife, the first chapter basically sets the scene for the remainder of the book with Grayson Wells cast as the hero. Living within the confines of the enclosed city limits, it has already been determined that Wells was born with a rare blood type and perfect health, and has been promoted beyond his lower-class structure into the most favoured and elite personnel. It is clear that everybody does not agree with that decision amid previous warnings from his now-deceased mother.
For the first few pages of this novella, there is a real fear that an overdependence on lengthy paragraphs and complex issues within the city of Colossal-1 will affect the readability of the book. However, once Wells is finally notified of his first mission outside of the city boundaries, the pace and interest quicken.
With the background covered adequately, what follows is a lively narrative with a mixture of adventure and some horror, but with more than a trace of humour in some cases. Wells is tasked to locate the alleged baddie and traitor who is said to be a formidable character and from who the leaders of the city require a blood sample to further enhance the stock of the city. Yet he seems determined from the opening pages not to take his new-found celebrity status to heart by respecting his more humble origins and remembering a harsh upbringing in the city academy.
Wells embarks on this challenge with several colleagues and their unexpected encounters on this mission lead to much uncertainty for the hero. A diversity of the characters also becomes evident without the need for lengthy prose as to their characteristics. There is also a balanced mixture of text and good quality dialogue with a lack of complication prevalent as the story progresses.
The author should also be commended for leaving various clues throughout the text which come together towards the final outcome.
Some thought has been generated for this storyline and it is not just a gung-ho approach adopted by much of the thriller, horror and fantasy fiction so prevalent on the bookshelves.
There are a few instances of swearing and bad taste within the text, but such cases do not dominate the narrative and are more natural speech in the situation rather than deliberately introducing x-rated aspects. That should appeal to readers of most ages. Some violence has been also incorporated alongside some vivid descriptions but without the lengthy detail prevalent in some books. The author has just about resisted the temptation to overplay the blood and gore as if it is integral to the storyline.
As this novella is just Part 1 of a series, it does whet the appetite for the next instalments. A precedent has been set by the author and it is hoped that he can maintain this engaging style in subsequent narratives.