Copyright 1984.

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.

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