It is the future and St. Louis is just a shell of a city that it once was. The United States was decimated by a pandemic that killed millions and countries that were once our allies used nuclear weapons to prevent the disease from spreading. The Sanctuary, as St. Louis is now called, built a wall around the city to keep it's inhabitants safe. While life is less than ideal in the Sanctuary, it is safer than being out in The Dead Lands. The people of the Sanctuary are told (and believe) that the Dead Lands is dangerous, deadly, and nobody can survive beyond the city's walls. The citizens of the Sanctuary believe everything they are told until a young woman shows up at the gates, she tells a tale of another part of the country that has not only survived, but thrived. A group of citizens believe her and have decided that they will stop at nothing to find the truth. Lewis Meriwether, Mina Clark and a few others set out on a journey across the wasteland that America has become and in the process they encounter all sorts of deadly weather conditions, mutated creatures, and enough dangerous situations that terrify them to their core. But will it stop them from reaching their destination? And what will happen if they do reach their destination?
The Dead Lands was an utterly terrifying apocalyptic novel. No surprise to you that I enjoy a good post-apocalyptic novel and The Dead Lands was fantastic. Even though it was decades past any time period you or I might recognize there was enough from current day life to make you take notice. Like mention of Midwest establishments like Hy-Vee and Quick Trip. There was also mention of things like tablets and an old can of Coke that were considered artifacts. I enjoyed looking for things like that in the story. Once Lewis and Clark (get it??) start out on their journey it was fun to look for landmarks in the story that I might be familiar with - beings that I am from that area. But frankly there were parts that were terrifying, like man-sized bats?? Um, no thank you. It was also fun to identify other similarities between the journey of the past Lewis and Clark and this one.
Bottom line- The Dead Lands is not going to be a book for everybody, but overall it was a fun book to read with lots of intricate details that sucked you into a world that I pray we never have to live in ourselves.