The author, Jason Walters, is an interesting character. His biography describes him as "surrounded by firearms and semi-feral dogs." He lives in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, "a billowing sea of sand not unlike the one featured in the book."
Walters has Highdome, the main character (picture a cross between the bald Billy Zane from Titanic and Vin Diesel), narrate the book as if he is recording the actions of his Red Regiment for the imperial archives. Highdome is loathe to accept this assignment and insults the reader at every turn for lounging in civilized luxury while he is toiling away in a vast wasteland.
His rag-tag army of misfits has sworn an oath of loyalty to the regiment, even if they are mercenary soldiers. Walters refers to them as a group of murderers. They are made up of an odorous pedophile, a defiant young girl, canine-like beasts, insane wizards and lizard-men - just to name a few. The goal of this motley crew is to seize the prosperous city of Salt. There are just two problems. The city has never fallen to an invading force, and the regiment must first defeat another army also bent on conquering the lucrative city.
Walters is at his best when he delves into fantasy. He brings the vengeance of a wicked sandstorm to life. He creates terror with a marsh creature arising from a tepid bog. However, he stumbles a bit by having the reader rely on a nine-page glossary in order to translate his prolific terminology. The characters themselves border on unlikeable. Crude. Perverted. Drunk. Think The Lord of the Flies meets Animal House. They bicker more with each other, than fight against the enemy.
This first installment in Walters' saga ends with the regiment joining forces with the opposing army in order to survive a debilitating sandstorm. In the final scene, what is left of the two armies gain access to the illusive city of Salt in exchange for relinquishing their weapons.
Overall, this is a book that a teenage boy would love.
The Vast White by Jason Walters is available for $11.95 at Amazon.com and BlackWyrm.com.
A complimentary review copy was provided by BlackWyrm Publishing.
Enter to win a FREE copy of The Vast White.
Leave a comment below along with your email address.
A winner will be chosen on March 10, 2010.
Congratulations to our winner: Simply Stacie!