Taking the gloves off
Review of Nomad’s Pursuit: Into the savage Part 1
By Tom Pahlow
Action, adventure, mayhem and the realisation that our classist overlords have been using propaganda to keep you compliant. All this and more can be found in Kenneth C. Brown’s first instalment of Into the Savage.
Nomad’s Pursuit gives us a look into the classist dystopia of Colossal-1 and the wildlands outside the city’s borders. We get to follow Ensign Grayson Wells as he is tasked with tracking down the wanted criminal and terrorist, Jessie Crager. The team he joins is tested at every turn and Grayson soon finds that the forest is filled with savage beasts that seem intent on killing them. That’s not all he learns though. As the real world seems to be different from what he has been told. What is the truth behind Colossal-1’s mission?
Brown introduces us to the world of Into the Savage by letting us experience it through the eyes of Grayson Wells. A man whose inexplicably superior genes have pulled him from the life of a commoner to become a propaganda symbol for those with the arbitrary qualities that put them in the lower echelon of C1.
At times, there was a tendency to fall back on flashbacks to explain parts of the world. A beast would roar and Grayson would remember a class where he learned something he would need for the encounter. It’s never been one of my favourite literary devices but luckily Brown does such a good job around them that it didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the book.
What I found incredibly interesting about Wells was how he was simultaneously aware of his own exploitation while also being somewhat naïve to his world. We all like to think we see the world for what it is and this belief can often blind us to ugly truths right in front of us. And when, like Wells, we are thrust into a new environment, our whole worldview can be turned on its head.
The object of Grayson's search, Jessie Crager, was another great addition to the cast. The Class 0, a perfect mix of genes, who is seen as Colossal-1’s worst criminal is far more than the stories have painted him. Imposing, cunning and agile the Nomad is an enigma who has apparently wandered the world in a way that few if any have done. I have no idea where his character is going from here. All I know is that I need more of him.
There is always something I love about a story that takes the kiddy gloves off. The feeling that at any moment, a character you like might bite the bullet gets the blood pumping. And Brown holds nothing back. Outside of the harsh dystopia that is Colossal-1, the world is somehow an even more brutal place. It kept me guessing throughout and made my heart pound.
At its heart, Nomad’s Pursuit is the first instalment of what feels like a classic tale of adventure. The first step for Grayson, and us, in seeing the world that Brown has made.
I can’t wait to see where it goes.