Traveler has come to northern California in search of two men he has to kill. One is the mutant Black Rider that has sworn to kill Traveler. The other is Colonel Vallone his former C.O. from his army days. There are rumors of a secret military base in the area with both these guys conducting experiments to create an army of genetic mutants to conquer what’s left of America. Traveler gets into a fight with some former escaped experiments called Cen Cars. A biological fusion of men into a living car with wheels. After killing the leader with his Meat Wagon, Traveler becomes the herds leader which will come in handy later. He then hooks up with a religious community let by a mysterious prophet Brother John. He helps them fight off attacks from the local Glory Boys and their various mutant creatures. An expedition to their secret underground base leads to a final confrontation with Traveler’s enemies and the destruction of their plans.
This is one fun book in the series. Traveler travels to California and battles some kooky genetic mutants. We get a visit from his old pal Shumi the Buddhist monk that rides a giant Siamese cat. There was a lot of humor in this book. Especially the way he took out Vallone. Involves a jar of Vaseline and a stick of dynamite. The Black Rider ends up a victim of his bizarre living land he created. Ends with Traveler getting a companion by the name of Link a former Green Beret. John Shirley the writer of this book was really getting the hang of this series.
Traveler is in central Nevada. He is looking for two men that he has to kill. One is Colonel Vallone his former commander in the Army. The other is the mutant roadrat the Black Rider. While riding along in his Meat Wagon, he gets ambushed and captured by the mutant Bloats. Luckily, he escapes and hooks up with a shady survivalist outfit. Soon after they are ambushed, and his Meat Wagon is stolen. He finds out that some Cheyenne Indians did it, and they have a beautiful woman named Jan who he hooks up with. To get this van back he has to help them rescue a member of the tribe held captive by the Glory Boys. They want the location of a neurotoxin warehouse that the tribe knows about. The tribe destroyed the toxin but has to bluff to buy time to mount a rescue. Traveler also meets up with one of his old army buddies Orwell. Together they infiltrate a Glory Boy base and liberate it along with Jan’s brother. At the end Traveler finds true love but has to continue his quest for revenge.
John Shirley with this book is settling in to make this series his. He has Traveler find one of his friends. Traveler also gets a love interest. There are some clear villains that he has to defeat in Vallone and the Black Rider. Establishes the trading settlement of Drift which will play an important part in future books. Filled with all sorts of stuff that was associated with this series. Weird mutants, fanatical government soldiers, noble Native Americans, inbred survivalists. In a nutshell what you would want in an eighties post-apocalypse series. A fun enjoyable entry that sees the loner Traveler start to find a purpose, friends and love in his lonely life.
Kiel Paxton a.k.a. Traveler is cruising the roads of post-nuke Kansas in 2004. Driving his Meat Wagon, a.k.a his armored van he comes on some roadrats attacking a convoy of horse drawn station wagons. Being the soft-hearted guy under his anti-hero mercenary exterior he decides to save them from being raped/tortured/killed/sold into slavery. He soon finds out he rescued the princess of Wichita who was on her way to be married to the prince of Kansas City. Traveler is surprised that there are some cities still standing. Seems that some defense satellites managed to save Kansas. The leaders of these cities adopted an old feudal system and made themselves barons and kings.
Traveler agrees to get them to Kansas City for all the gold, ammo and fuel he can carry. He soon finds out this is much harder than it seemed. President Frayling the senile President that started WWIII and now holes up in his underground base north of Las Vegas is trying to disrupt the alliance between these two cities. A senile President? That couldn’t happen in real life now, could it? I mean someone would do something wouldn’t they? Anyhoo he hires a mutant roadrat called the Black Rider to unite the various tribes of roadrats to attack the city. In addition to roadrats and the various mutants that populate the landscape he has to evade the remnants of the U.S. Army under his old C.O. Major Vallone who set Traveler up in El Hiagura and got him and his friends dosed with a neurotoxin. Luckily, he gets help from a friendly Buddhist monk named Shumi who rides around on a giant mutant Siamese cat named Ronin. Traveler eventually saves the day and defeats the Black Rider thus ensuring peace in Kansas. He gets his pay and continues on his way.
A senile President starts a nuclear war with Russia. Surprisingly not that farfetched these days. This was the first Traveler book I read. I remember finding it at a Woolworth in Reno. I loved this book. It was just right up my alley back then. I loved anything post-nuke and this is probably the most road warrior type series there was. It had all these road warrior types in there slapped together cars. Throw in some mutants and evil remnants of the government and you have a fun recipe for an enjoyable bit of fun. John Shirley took over the writing of this series and would continue on for another five books. He managed to keep the same tone that Naha established in the first book yet would make this his own series.
It has been 15 years since WWIII destroyed the world back in 1989. Kiel Paxton a former special forces soldier has been roaming the west ever since. Now known as Traveler he drives around in his armored van; he nicknamed The Meat Wagon. He searches for his three army buddies who like him were exposed to a neurotoxin in the jungles of El Hiagura. He has an anti-toxin that helps. One day while fleeing roadrats ,those people that ride around killing and raping, he escapes to the town of Tendran, Utah. It looks just like a pre-war slice of Americana. Only he later finds out it is controlled by two factions. One is a ruthless businessman named Millard and his mercenaries. The other is Captain Aikers and his National Guard troops. Both want Traveler to hijack a shipment of guns passing by. The Glory Boys those fanatics loyal to the President that started the war are shipping these weapons. Whoever controls them can control the town and eventually build their own little empire. Traveler plays off both sides to eventually free the town.
Drumm is a house name for this series. The first book was written by Ed Naha. He gives us an enjoyable little road warrior type book. It is obviously a ripoff of the movie A Fistful of Dollars which was a ripoff of Yojimbo. A mysterious stranger comes to a town divided by two factions and plays each of them off to free the town. This is probably the most iconic series from the eighties that was influenced by The Road Warrior. He gives us a typical anti-hero of the time. A guy who has been enhanced by some neurotoxin that heightens his senses. He has an armored van and fight roadrats, fanatical Glory Boys, mutants and other assorted riffraff of the post-nuke world. Naha’s template was a success for this series and with the excellent writing made it a huge hit.