Original title: The Amtrak Wars Book 1: Cloud Warrior.
Title of this edition: The Amtrak Wars Book 1: Cloud Warrior.
Author: Patrick Tilley.
Gender: Fantasy / Science Ficction.
Saga: Amtrak Wars.
Editorial: Sphere Books Limited.
Edition year: 1, 1983.
Sinopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: One thousand years ago the atomic war happened. The earth is still contaminated with heavy elements and radiation. Two principal groups of humans have survived Trackers and Mutes. Enemies. The Trackers live in bunkers beneath the surface in a military society ruled by the first family and a supercomputer. The Mutes live in the surface, in a american-indian society. Trackers have technology and travel between bunkers in terrain trains called Wagon-Train, and also can fly in a very rudimentary planes. The Mutes have almost no technology, but they have superpowers that allow them to summon the powers of the earth and sense the future.
With this background, the book tells the story of a Tracker named Brickman who is a cloud-warrior (a pilot), and 3 Mutes, Clearwater, Mr Snow and Cadillac. Mr Snow is a wordsmith, he has a great memory and is capable of remember 600 years of history, Cadillac is his student and one day he will become a wordsmith. Clearwater is Cadillac’s girl and also has earth powers which allow her to summon supernatural powers. This first book is the story of how Brickman became a Mute prisioner and how he learn from them about the superpowers and how Mutes learn from him how to build airplanes (a third group of people who trade with Mutes appears as a reference, the iron masters of Beth-Lem, a surface group with an intermediate technology between mutes and Trackers).
Personal Review: Quite good book. The complete collection are 6 books… and I get them for 1€ in a car boot sale (original price in 80’s was 5€ per book… amazing). Probably the devaluation is because the gender had evolved since that and now somethings are quite out-fashioned.
I have to say that I don’t like at all the superpowers of Mutes. I prefer hard science fiction and not fantasy science ficction. There is no possible explication for the powers showed in the book, just fantasy, and that makes it bad for me. And that’s why I enjoy more the part about the Trackers and their technology.
The most interesting thing from Trackers are the wagon-trains. Those are big wheeled trains designed to carry inside a full army.
They were designs of pre holocaust and where released from the supercomputer by the first family when time cames to go to the surface.
To understand how big they are, consider this: the skyhawks, the trackers planes, can land and take off from them.
Talk about this book is difficult because many of this ideas had been used in other books and games. Especially in all Fallout shaga, where the people lived in bunkers and emerged after a long time just to know that they were betrayed by the goverment… And probably is not quite popular these days, but in Fallout Tactics (yes despite it’s bugs and cancellation I managed to play it) there is a big supercomputer with all the pre-war knowledge and it is controlling the fate of the after-war people. It is quite similar to trackers supercomputer COLUMBUS. Coincidence or inspiration? If it is inspiration I can adivine that COLUMBUS is going to be destroyed because it is trying to control the fate of the humans.
And about fate of the humans… What is a bad point in the book is that for a thousand years both Mutes and Trackers have lived in their way of live without any change. Can you imagine thousand years living like indians without inventing anything? Most difficult, can you imagine thousand years living in a bunker over a military ruled live and without revolts and change in the regime? I think this book is good but now the science ficction has evolved and became more realistic. I mean, now they try to describe more realsitic societies and understand that most of the comon ideas years ago can be real. Imagine for example the future world described by Wells in the Time Machine. The Morlock-Eloi society was funny when the book appered but now it seems quite innocent to believe that this kind of society can even exists.
In next reviews of this series I will coment more, rigth now I’m imapcient to continue the saga and see how the story develops.
As an extra for those who want to read the book, two interesting maps: