I have already reviewed book 1 of The Atomic Sea, Jack Conner’s diesel-fantasy tale of war, horror and conspiracy (link >>> ). It ended with a cliff-hanger at which book 2 picks up the relay pin and moves ahead at full pace. Our hero, Dr Avery, his band of rough sidekicks and a semi-supernatural humanoid dash through a war-torn wilderness to reach a “sacred” device before their enemies catch them.
And that is more or less the plot for two volumes. When I read book 1, I expected interesting sequels. Unfortunately books 2 & 3 do not deliver the goods. Underground caves, strange vehicles, exhausting escapes, grisly human sacrifices, evil purported “gods”, and blood-spattered fight scenes — but also frequent morasses of words. Every once in a while, there is a scene catching my attention, such as the trip by river boat in book 3, but then I run into another verbose fact dump — usually an explanation why the world is such miserable place in so many ways — disguised as a dialogue. And the gory scenes with extra-dimensional horrors involved quickly lose their punch because there are too many of them.
Yes, the world itself is a potentially interesting diesel-era stage for Dr Avery’s adventures, and he is a character worth caring for. However, The Atomic Sea needs some ruthless editing and a more varied plotline. With such measures it would become a better book series — the wherewithal is certainly there.