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Download eBooks by author James Axler. Guaranteed best prices, direct download! James Axler is a house name used by the publishing company Gold Eagle. Pilgrimage to Hell: Death Lands Series Book #01 - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online for free. This is the full edition of. Simple download ebook Deathlands for smartphone - Free Books Online.


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A men's adventure series initially written by Laurence James and continued on by others. One hundred years after the nuclear holocaust known as Skydark. One hundred years after the nuclear holocaust known as Skydark, a group of warrior survivalists travel the Deathlands - the remains of what once was the United. Gold Eagle Publisher - 1, works / ebooks published between & Previous. Borrow · Borrow James Axler, books. Dick Stivers, 39 books.

Deathlands Series. Book 1. Pilgrimage to Hell by James Axler. On a crisp January day, a Presidential inaugurati… More. Want to Read. Shelving menu. Shelve Pilgrimage to Hell.

Latitude Zero. Dark Carnival. Chill Factor. Moon Fate. Fury's Pilgrims. Deep Empire. Cold Asylum. Twilight Children. Rider, Reaper. Road Wars. Trader Redux. Genesis Echo. Ground Zero. Emerald Fire. Keepers of the Sun. Circle Thrice.

Eclipse at Noon. Bitter Fruit. Demons of Eden. The Mars Arena. Nightmare Passage. Freedom Lost. Way of the Wolf. Dark Emblem. Crucible of Time. Gemini Rising. Gaia's Demise. Dark Reckoning. Shadow World. Pandora's Redoubt. Rat King. Zero City. Savage Armada. Judas Strike. Shadow Fortress. Salvation Road. Amazon Gate. Destiny's Truth. Janus Trap James Axler. Oblivion Stone James Axler.

Pantheon Of Vengeance James Axler. Infinity Breach James Axler. Serpent's Tooth James Axler. Reality Echo James Axler. Necropolis James Axler. Shadow Born James Axler. End Program James Axler. Desolation Angels James Axler.

Truth Engine James Axler. Blood Red Tide James Axler. God War James Axler. Scarlet Dream James Axler. Tainted Cascade James Axler. Wretched Earth James Axler. Planet Hate James Axler. Infestation Cubed James Axler. Genesis Sinister James Axler. Dragon City James Axler. Cradle Of Destiny James Axler. Palaces Of Light James Axler. Crimson Waters James Axler. Perception Fault James Axler. Playfair's Axiom James Axler. No Man's Land James Axler.

Prodigal's Return James Axler. Hell Road Warriors James Axler. Haven's Blight James Axler. Downrigger Drift James Axler. If Frederickson's strike had been preemptive, it would have turned Marxist-Leninist ideology into a dead philosophy, something to be yawned over in the history books. But there were to be no history books, for even as Russia was disappearing under soaring fireballs and vast mushroom clouds, so was Western Europe, so was the Middle East, so was China.

The commercial East Coast was obliterated by the retaliatory attack, as were the industrial belts around the Great Lakes and the petrochemical and defense manufacturing zones strung along the Louisiana coastline. Cities vanished in the wink of an eye; new lakes were created; forests blazed.

The area around Minot, North Dakota, was devastated, as was the Cumberland Plateau that stretched across Tennessee, and central Nebraska. Florida, southern Georgia, Alabama and eastern Mississippi were hit by a rain of biological and chemical agents, sub-fired from the Atlantic. Cheyenne Mountain, no longer considered a high priority target, was hit once, just at the moment when a singular experiment was taking place deep in its bowels.

But the most stupendous destruction of all took place on the West Coast. Here the Earth was tormented into giving birth to an entirely new coastline. Months before, Soviet "earthshaker" bombs had been seeded by subs along fault- and fracture-lines in the Pacific.

Now these were detonated. The earth heaved and bucked and burst apart with a succession of cataclysmic shocks. The volcanos from Mount Rainier and Mount St.

Publisher: Gold Eagle | Open Library

Helen's in the north to Mount Shasta in the south, and beyond, blew their stacks. Rock and magma blasted into the sky. Huge rifts tore into the mountains, thrusting deep into the heart of the Cascades. Vast areas of land and mountain lurched downward massively and the gap between the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada was breached, the Pacific Ocean boiling through in spuming waves a mile high.

Within minutes the hugely populated coastal strip from San Francisco to San Diego had gone, as though it had never existed.

The Black Rock Desert was suddenly an inland sea with mountain peaks as islands. The mighty tremors, the colossal underground explosions, bucketed on down the fragile chain. Death Valley, the Mojave and Colorado Deserts were inundated. Baja, California, racked and tortured by the stupendous quake spasms, literally snapped off, fragmenting westward, disappearing beneath the churning waves.

The Pacific lashed at the foothills of the Sierra Madre. Here, the volcanic explosions went on for some years. Elsewhere there was only silence. The Nuclear Winter. Far worse than some had argued; not as horrific as others had theorized. There were, of course, survivors. The world was not destroyed, only a way of life. In what had once been North America, the survivors struggled to survive a new dark age of plague, radiation sickness, barbarism and madness.

Temperatures dropped to freezing and below. Peat marshes,. Toxic rain from soot-choked clouds lashed the land. Billions of corpses decayed and rotted, became as one with the poisoned earth. Slowly, over the years, the survivors dragged themselves out of caves and bunkers and began to look around them, began to think, as humankind has a habit of doing, that things were pretty goddamned lousy, but not, perhaps, as goddamned lousy as they might have been.

Such is the unquenchable human spirit, with its seemingly ingrained philosophy of make do and mend. Who knows how language survived, but it did, in all its variety. Not only the language of science, of mechanical things and weaponry, but also of prayer, of inspiration, most especially of curses.

Concepts of measurement—the shape of time and space—and tattered theories of agriculture, transportation and the strategies of war managed to prevail quite well through the ravages of endless social collapse. Rituals of sex and a taste for organized crime still echoed in one form or another down the years, as did an appreciation of the self, an understanding about mirrors and the search for the superior person. Literature and moral philosophy suffered horribly, history became garbled and formal schooling and worship were lost causes, but throughout the new wastelands glimmered determined traces of intellectual, psychological and emotional human growth, thrusting up from the rubble like wild-flowers, though inevitably mutated.

And usually, of course, for the worse—usually in the most terrible form imaginable. There were still roads. No amount of nuking can destroy every road in the entire world. There were still buildings standing. No amount of nuking can destroy every building in the entire world. Lines of communication and dwelling places; that was a start.

And the survivors built from that. There were still animals on which one could ride, and which would pull wheeled vehicles. Then people discovered that, with a certain amount of ingenuity, they could adapt certain large vehicles so they were driven by steam.

That was a technological breakthrough. Books were useful here. No amount of nuking can destroy every book in the entire world. Knowledge was power over the darkness, the destroyer of ignorance and fear.

For much of the twenty-first century the survivors lived on a knife-edge. It was a hand-to-mouth existence. Yet slowly they learned how to cope with disaster, take.

Pilgrimage to Hell: Death Lands Series Book #01

They began to experiment with what they had, discover new ways of doing old things—and discover old ways of doing old things. They began to explore. Toward the end of the century a man stumbled across an astonishing cache of food and merchandise and survival equipment and weapons.

He discovered that this was a Stockpile, laid down before the Nuke by the government of the day. The man learned that there were other hidden Stockpiles dotted across the vast land. He began to trade this material, began to search for more caches, began to travel—at first by steam truck and then, after he'd come across the first of many huge Stockpiles of oil and gasoline, by gasoline-driven vehicles.

At first he did this for purely mercenary reasons, but as the years went by he found that bringing light to dark places had its own reward. Then others began to trade, others whose motives were by no means as altruistic.

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This is often the way. NOW, IN —old style—just over one hundred years after the Nuke in what had once been known as North America, the descendants of those who had not succumbed to radiation sickness or died by violence at the brutal hands of their fellow men and women, look out upon a vastly altered and for the most part hideously strange world. To the north lies a cold waste where men clothe themselves in furs the year round. Where once the Great Lakes had been, there is now a huge, sullen inland sea, bordered on the northeast and south by a blasted land.

From Cape Cod down to South Carolina lies a ruin-choked wasteland to which only now is life slowly returning, but to the north of this seared terrain—New Hampshire—and below it—South Carolina—there exist bustling Baronies, ruled by powerful families who have clawed out territory for themselves over a period of sixty years or so.

Here primitive manufacturing industry can be found, a veneer of civilized sophistication. Even electric light. But there have, of course, been no advances. Weapons, tools, gadgets: Where in the South the rich and evil soup of chemical and biological agents vomited across the landscape, there now exist fetid strontium swamps and near- tropical forest, where new and terrible life-forms lurk.

The Southwest has become a huge tract of simmering hotland, dust-bowl territory for the most part, skinned of cacti and even the most primitive forms of vegetation, where mph winds hurtle in from the Gulf. And when by some atmospheric miracle storm clouds sweep across from the Pacific, it is acid rain that falls—pure acid that can strip a man to the bones in seconds flat. The resculpted West Coast has now calmed down, although it is still volcanic, and far below the earth's surface and beneath the waves there are still tremendous natural forces simmering in uneasy captivity.

Stark fjords stab into the mountainous coastline to the north; steaming lagoons lie to the south. In the heartland of this huge country there are dramatic changes. The Great Salt Lake, already rising dangerously in the late twentieth century, has extended its bounds because of quake subsidence at the Wasatch Fault and the years' long drenchings caused by intense climatic disturbance. It now covers nearly 15, square miles and is roughly the area of the ancient Lake Bonneville of more than ten thousand years ago.

Everywhere there are ruined cities overgrown with noxious vegetation where people, of a kind, still live and battle for survival and supremacy among the brooding tree-and undergrowth-choked urban canyons. A new lake has formed in what was once Washington State; new deserts have appeared; the Badlands are even worse.

Large areas of the country lie under an umbrella of dust and debris that clings to the atmosphere in strange forms: A coverlet of destruction mantling a land of doom. Little wonder, then, that the entire continent, north to south, east to west, coast to coast, is known to those who inhabit it as Deathlands. In some mutants the genetic codes have become completely scrambled, giving life to monstrous beings, men and women with hideous deformities; in others, the rearrangement has been far more subtle.

Extrasensory perception and the weird ability to "see" the immediate future are two of the special talents typically possessed by certain mutants. In all the coastal Baronies, mutants are feared and hated; in some they are hunted down and ruthlessly exterminated.

Small groups of "muties" have fled up to the far northeast, to where old Maine bordered old New Brunswick. There are no customs houses now. Here, amid the cool, dark pine and larch woods, largely untouched by radiation showers, they have integrated with the Forest People, isolated and secretive folk who rarely travel. Far more roam the Central Deathlands, where it's still pretty much a free-for-all society.

There is no interest at all in what goes on in the rest of the world. Why should there be? Here is what matters. And now. A fight for survival in what is still a hostile and deadly environment, a grim world of danger and sudden death and teeming horrors from which there seems to be no escape.

Strange stories have been handed down from one generation to the next. Wild hints circulate. It is said that the old-time scientists made certain discoveries back before the Nuke—bizarre and sensational discoveries that were never made public. It is rumored that there are awesome secrets still to be uncovered in the Deathlands, deep-level "Redoubts" stuffed with breathtaking scientific marvels, fabulous technological treasure troves.

It is even whispered that there is an escape route: Absurd, of course. A foolishly nostalgic dream conjured up to compensate for living a life of horror in a land of death. It was there in his nostrils, a coppery odor, redolent of death and horror. Then it was gone. It had lasted a microsecond, as it always did, and then there was nothing there at all but the memory of it.

That and the icy chill stroking his spine like skeletal fingers and the blood-red haze that clouded his mind. He shivered, groaned softly, clutched at his brow. Death was ahead. The warning had been given. The weird antennae of his psyche had fingered the future, told him of blood and destruction. But the how and the why of it, the exact where and when, were never granted, not to him.

Reacher was not a true Doomseer; exact details were denied him. He could only perceive the psychic smell of it. And he knew it would be soon, very soon. Within minutes. There was nothing he could do about it, nothing on earth he could do to stop it. McCandless growled excitedly, "The mutie's got something. He's pickin' something up.

Reacher felt a hand shake him roughly on the shoulder. It broke his concentration, scattered the scarlet fog in his mind. He stumbled forward, dropped to his knees, his hands scraping rock and sharp-edged stones at the side of the old tarmac road. What is it? Whatya seen? Where's the danger coming from?

He stared around him as though seeing the terrain, his surroundings, for the first time, as though waking up from a dream. A cliff face rose up sheer from the side of the road on his left, its summit lost in the hovering gloom that was split, every few seconds, by fierce jagged traceries of lightning darting surreally about the sky. To his right, beyond the road and the bush-matted strip of verge, was the lip of the gorge that plunged heartstoppingly down to the river racing far below.

Ahead was the road, rutted and cracked and potholed, unused for generations, devastated by the angry elements that feuded constantly day and night in these blasted and forsaken mountains, winding steeply, disappearing around craggy bends. Behind, the road snaked downward to the river, through grim foothills, past sick forest and leprous meadow out to an even grimmer plain.

Reacher wiped an arm across his face, leaned groggily against the black granite of the sheer cliff, stared sullenly at the three men facing him. First, McCandless. Always first. The leader. The guy who had brought them together, the guy who had succeeded where everyone else, every mother's son over the past three or four decades, had failed.

That was his boast. Black bearded, scarred, glaring eyed, hulking in his furs.

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McCandless was a brute schemer who let nothing get in his way. He wanted power and he bulldozed opponents, anyone who thought differently or acted differently. Then Rogan. McCandless's sidekick. Tall, craggy, stupid faced and stupid brained. But handy with his shooter— that had to be admitted. Reacher had seen how handy Rogan could be back in Mocsin when the tall, pea-brained man had shot a guy's nose away.

Rogan hadn't liked the way the guy had been badmouthing McCandless, calling him crazy for even thinking of heading up into the Dark Hills. Rogan had shot the tip of the guy's nose off—one slug, swiftly done, almost without thinking about it.

Last Reacher knew, the guy was still alive. And why not? All Rogan had done was blow his snout away. Nothing to it. Then there was Kurt. Kurt was okay. Solidly built, stocky, thick reddish brown hair, watchful eyes. Nothing seemed to worry Kurt.

He took things as they came,. He, too, was handy with his gun, handier than Rogan and McCandless put together. Which was why he was here, on this rutted road that snaked blindly higher and higher into the Dark Hills. McCandless didn't care much for Kurt, but he cared a lot about the way he handled a gun.

You know that. I ain't a doomie. I just smell it. You know that, too. Ain't too many of them guys around and most of 'em keep dark what they got. Rogan spat at the road. He growled, "Miserable mutie. Yer all the same. Ain't human an' ain't worth shit. He cringed back as McCandless suddenly turned on him. The leader lashed a gloved fist across Rogan's face.

Rogan grunted, staggered back toward the precipice, then tripped, sprawling only inches away from the drop. He glared up at McCandless with red-rimmed eyes. Around them the wind howled like a dead soul racked in chilly Hell. Lightning flickered crazily; the air seemed charged with electricity.

Even though the wind was a cold and icy blast, the atmosphere was heavy, muggy. Reacher felt his bones had been somehow turned to lead. His body was clammy with sweat under the thick fur garments, even as the wind cut at his exposed face like a keen-bladed knife.

Reacher watched Rogan crawl away from the chasm and scramble to his feet. Rogan didn't look at McCandless. He was breathing heavily, fingering his face where the bulky man had struck him. Reacher didn't need his uncanny power to. Any fool could see that an explosion was only minutes away. But that was not what Reacher had smelled seconds before. He did not know what had triggered off his psychic alarm, but it was definitely not Rogan going berserk or McCandless cutting loose just for the hell of it.

McCandless was a psychopath, almost totally unstable. Already he'd gunned down Denning, a man of some education who'd suggested there might be a way into the mountains other than the road, and if there was it might be the wiser route to take. Denning's view, mildly expressed, was that the obvious course of action could often lead to needless danger.

The road, he'd said, was too open; cover was negligible.

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Who knew what dangers lurked hidden, out of sight? Muties, mannies—anything could be up there. On the road you were an easy target. Maybe that was why no one had ever returned from the Dark Hills, though many had set out.

Try some other route, Denning had advised; and if there wasn't one, then okay—the road. It was a reasonable argument, put in a reasonable manner.

It made sense. But not to McCandless, who'd not even bothered to debate it. He'd simply pulled out his dented, much used. End of argument. McCandless and Rogan had divided up the contents of Denning's backpack, taking gun, ammo, food, other essentials. Then the party had moved on. No one had argued. Rogan hadn't argued because he knew he'd be sharing the spoils. Wise man. Offing Denning meant at the end of the day that there was one less mouth to feed, one less person to share in the possible treasure at the end of the trail.

The fact that it also meant they had one less gun to blow away attackers with did not necessarily occur to him. Kurt had not argued because he was phlegmatic by nature. He knew he would not get a share of Denning's leavings because he was a hired gun, a blaster pure and simple.

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Sure, he'd get a share of whatever they found, if anything, up in the hills. But other than that, forget it. He just took orders from McCandless, kept his eyes open for danger, hoped for the best. Reacher certainly had not argued. He was a survivor. The main reason he'd survived to the age of thirty, give or take a year or three, was that he never argued. With anyone. Especially not with guys who held guns and called the shots. In any case, his peculiar talent—born out of a blind stew of scrambled genes somewhere back along a kin line a century before—was invaluable to McCandless, however much the bulky man might rage and fume, and unless he went stark out of his mind Reacher would survive yet.

On the other hand, thought Reacher suddenly, the way things were going, the way madness seemed to be encroaching on them all, there was a damned good chance the guy would go stark out of his mind.

McCandless said, "So I ain't got me a doomie, I got me a senser. Why did I get me a senser? To sniff out trouble. The deal was this senser'd get food and a share of the good stuff when we hit it. That was the bargain. Just so long as he worked his passage. Reacher was on the verge of repeating that he hadn't seen anything, that he'd made it perfectly clear to McCandless right at the start that he couldn't see anything, that he never would see anything, that it was a sheer physical impossibility for him to see anything.

And then he thought, split-second swiftly, the hell with it: Right now McCandless was not interested in word play. Trying to explain to men like these was always difficult, and in any case Reacher himself had no real idea why he was the way he was.

It was relatively easy to accept the physical aspects of genetic mutation—why some mutants had no mouths, for instance, or three eyes, or scales, or pachydermatous skin. Especially these days. Those who knew about these matters said that the full effects of the Nuke were only just beginning to come to the surface.

But how in hell did you explain something that went on in the mind? Something that was not at all tangible. Something extrasensory. Something that had to do with the emotions. At least that was the way Reacher figured it, if he thought about it at all, which wasn't very often. There were other more pressing problems to think about and try to cope with in this wacko world. Like a lot of muties, Reacher accepted that he was different and kept his head down.

There was no percentage in making waves. Again, the guys who knew about these things had actually figured out a very strange scenario: That in fact it would be the muties who were the norms, the norms muties. That was a pretty wild mind. Ain't nothing physical, McCandless, but it's never wrong. Somewhere up the road we got trouble. Could be us, could be guys waiting for us. Could be a rockslide.

I dunno. But it's there, and I'm warning you. We have to tread careful, real careful. We gotta tread real careful where! This is death. McCandless's eyes locked onto the mutie's for a microsecond, then flicked away. The bulky man pulled at his beard. Yeah, it's gonna happen, whatever. Doesn't necessarily mean it's gonna happen to us.

McCandless's face split into a grin. Reacher thought he looked more insane than ever. That's good enough, Reacher, you mutie! That one percent is ridin' for me!

We're gonna get us the loot and we're all gonna be kings of the mountain! Ain't that right, Rogan? Kurt's face was expressionless, a mask. He was bitterly regretting this whole venture. He had a strong feeling, an unshakable feeling that they were all going to wind up dead.

Or if not quite that, some disaster was heading their way with no reprieve. This feeling had been building up inside him for three days. It had actually started about two seconds after McCandless had first clapped him on the shoulder on the dusty drag outside Joe's Bites in Main Street Mocsin and offered him the blaster's job for an eighth share in whatever they found in the Darks.

It was an insane proposition, and McCandless had an insane reputation. The only reason Kurt had agreed to it—instantly and without thinking about it much at all—was that the night before he'd bucked one of Jordan Teague's captains, felled him to the floor in the tawdry casino in the center of the Strip, and he was already making panic plans to get out of Mocsin fast.

The only snag was, the next land wagon train wasn't scheduled to leave for at least a week and Kurt did not have the cash or. The fact that Teague's captain, an ugly son of a bitch with a walleye named Hagic, had been cheating Kurt—and Kurt had spotted it—made no difference. You didn't screw around with a member of what passed for the law in Jordan Teague's bailiwick. Jordan Teague didn't like it, and he had peculiar ideas on how to avenge insults in his own special brand of law.

Kurt had spent most of the night shitting himself in a cross-the-tracks cathouse, a real sleazepit not even the grossest of Teague's minions would touch, before sneaking out to get some food at Joe's—and running into McCandless. McCandless was in a hurry. A hell of a hurry. He was heading out into the Deathlands there and then.

The guy he'd hired as blaster had thought better of it and disappeared and Kurt didn't blame him. The very idea of venturing into the Dark Hills was clearly the product of a diseased imagination, and that about summed up McCandless's mind. Even Jordan Teague had never contemplated an expedition into the Darks.

Despite the possibility that something weird and wonderful could be hidden among those brooding peaks, the fact was that over the years many had gone looking for it and only one had ever returned.

Kurt remembered that return very clearly. He had good reason to remember it. His brain switched back, the camera of his memory revealing a scene now nearly two decades old, the screen in his mind showing a crazed, babbling wreck of a human being, brain fried, wild eyed, clothes in rags and tatters, crawling toward him along the dusty apology for a once busy blacktop.

Dolfo Kaler.

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A man with creds in store, real estate; a power in the land. Or as much of a power as one could ever be under the gross shadow of Jordan Teague. Certainly more power than most in Teague's primitive gold-based miniempire. He had his own satraps, his own bullyboys, a fleet of land wagons, a few good trade routes mainly to the East, and fuel-alcohol supplies if not exactly on tap at least regular.

Teague let him be. Kaler had solid contacts in the East, some kind of kin who would only deal with him. Teague knew that if he deeped Kaler those contacts would be lost. He kept an eye on Kaler, just in case Kaler started to dream dreams of empire, but otherwise left him alone; there was a wary truce between the two men. He had other dreams, sparked by whispers that nagged at his brain, insistent ghostly murmurs that urged him to think the unthinkable. Somewhere up in that vast range of hills that they called the Darks was… something.

Treasure, they said. A fantastic, unbelievable hoard just sitting there, just waiting for a strong man to claim it.

That was what was said. That was what had been whispered for a generation. Two generations. Maybe going right back to the Nuke. So there had to be something there. It was a hand-me-down tale, a story embedded deep in the recent folk memory. Kaler, a sensible man, discounted stories of gold, jewels, fine raiments, all that stuff.

It was so much crap, so much useless crap.

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Who needed it? So okay, Jordan Teague was starting to create an economy, a life- style, on the gold he was digging out of the seams exposed by the Nuke, forgotten through the Chill—just like everything had been forgotten—and rediscovered only a few years back. Teague was moving the stuff very gingerly to the East, and guys out there were sniffing at it, pondering its possibilities, wondering if it would do them any good.

And maybe in another ten years gold would be back in fashion, but ten years was a long time and right now the only worthwhile way of doing things was barter, trade, credit. Sure, coin was coming back; it was useful. But thus far it sure as hell didn't beat fresh food, canned food, animals—as long as they were reasonably pure—weapons, ammo. And that was what Dolfo Kaler figured was up there in the Darks. No fairy-tale hoard of goodies, but a Stockpile—a major Stockpile, maybe far bigger than any of the ones that had been unearthed so far.

Anybody who was anybody now knew that, before the Nuke, the government of the day, a government that had ruled the whole land, north to south, west to east, had been rumored to have squirreled away stuff in deep-cast ferroconcrete bunkers. Now it was an established fact.

Some had been discovered, opened up. There was a guy who called himself the Trader who'd found two and turned them into a business. He'd started off by chugging around the Deathlands in steam trucks a couple of years before, but now he was using gasoline. And trading guns in every direction. He was heavily weaponed himself too, as guys who'd tried to hijack him had discovered to their cost. The shit was there if you could find it, but from what Dolfo Kaler had learned, the Stockpiles found up to now were small.

The nagging suspicion he had was that if there really was something up in the Darks—and if it was a Stockpile—it was a big one: And that was why he didn't give a fart about Jordan Teague's little fiefdom. If what he suspected was true, and if he could get his hands on it, he could turn himself into king of the known world. Dolfo Kaler's mind lovingly dwelt on boxes of guns in their original greased wraps, pristine fresh, never used.

Crates of grenades. Heavy armament. Oceans of oil. So he went out. He took fifty men, all of them hand-picked from his own garrison mixed in with others from his contacts in the East. Hard-bitten dog soldiers.

Didn't give a nuke's hot ass about anything or anyone.