Pattonville an American free city has had a military coup. General Hanover has seized power and has a megalomaniacal plan to take over the whole country. He has used a gas that turns people into mindless zombies. This is how he maintains control over the populace. He starts to use the gas on other free cities. He also has managed to take prisoner the President of the U.S. and his daughter Kim. When Rockson hears this he sets out with his team to stop him. Along the way an earthquake traps the team in an underground world with lava people. The king Sulphur of the lava people wants to kill the intruders but luckily the lava woman has other plans. Seems the lava men are descended from miners trapped after the nuclear war. The second generation was mutated into stone lava people. The men are sterile and Shisa the beautiful lava woman wants a child. So naturally its up to Rockson to be the baby daddy. They then escape and Rockson finds out his men don’t remember a thing and maybe it was all a dream.
So they reach Pattonville and find it under the iron grip of General Hanover. They link up with the underground and manage to pump a gas that counters the effect of the zombie gas. Rock and his men break in on the forced wedding between Hanover and Kim. The newly freed citizens defeat the general’s soldiers and Hanover falls into a vat of gas. They leave with the city once again free.
So this series reached a milestone. Coming out in August 1989 it had reached the set date of 9/11/89 which was the date the war started. So it was no longer speculative but alternate fiction. Probably were surprised the series lasted so long to go on beyond their set date. Unfortunately one of the authors Jan Stacy was not so lucky to witness this date. He died that year from AIDS and left his writing partner Ryder Syvertsen to soldier on alone. This book has him listed in the copyright but they still continued to use the pen name established.
So how was his first solo book. It pretty much kept up the standard of goofyness that was established for this series. An OK book but it was obvious the series was past its prime and in decline. He wisely decided not to use Killov for every book. Just like using Moriarty or the Master can be overdone. You want to use your main villain infrequently to not overdue it. Hanover seems a fairly incompetent leader. His gas is mislabeled and half the free cities he attacks dies because they used the lethal gas and not the knockout gas. He seems too full of himself to care. Also this city was founded from some underground army machine shops yet it has a real Van Gogh the Potato Eaters, a Vergun Grandfather clock and Ming vase in the museum. You have to wonder how this out of the way place could get such objects. Further books would descend progressively into incoherence as we will see in future reviews.