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Exodus (Hellgate London)
Exodus (hellgate London) by Mel Odom
by Mel Odom        

Cutting edge science and legend merge in an apocalyptic battle against demons

The first novel in the HELLGATE LONDON, Mel Odom's EXODUS provides readers and game players with a prelude set eighteen years before the role playing interactive computer game. Mel Odom's book will appeal not only to game lovers but also to a more general action fiction readership who crave legendary history, technology and intriguing characters.

On All Hallow's Eve 2020 Thomas Cross, a Templar sworn to protect London to his death, enters the battle for which he has dedicated his entire life. Prepared for death, survival signifies failure in a battle against demons that have arrived through a portal and now threaten devastation beyond anything the world has never known. Armed with Nanodyne armor and arcane knowledge unavailable to the masses, Thomas enters battle, indeed his destiny. His son Simon trained as a Templar but rejected his legendary heritage in the disbelief of the reality of demons while also wanting to make his own way in the world. Now Simon conducts safaris in the wild lands of South Africa with Saundra McIntyre, sometimes encountering poachers in dangerous though less mythical fights than those of Templar legends. Returning to Cape Town after a particularly perilous action-packed encounter, Simon realizes he must return home to London in search of his father. When others are risking everything to get out of the apocalyptic mayhem that has laid waste to London, Simon risks his life to return. While others tell of aliens arriving, Simon now knows the truth behind his childhood Templar training --- somehow demons have been unleashed and all the tales he heard were not fairy tales or the delusions of his elders.

The general populace faces unfathomable devastation beyond the worst natural disasters. Power outages render people and technology helpless. Food and water become scarce while smoke darkens the sky. All normal services, substructures and civilization are no more. An attempt at escape or even emergence to look for basic necessities risks encounters with demons.

Set against the battle with the demons, two ancient organizations face the demons and each other in a subplot to the main battle between humans and demons. The Templars, driven underground in 1307 by Philip the Fair, now reside in secret chambers underneath London behind the subway system, teaching their heirs the stories of King Arthur and the responsibilities of knighthood. The Cabalists, fed on the works of Aleister Crowley and H.P. Lovecraft, seek to study demons rather than to do battle against them. A Cabalist invites Warren Schimmer to their enclave after recognizing his potential during one demon encounter. As Warren's powers grow, so do the risks --- risks with possible consequences both personal and widespread. In the battle against the demons' onslaught, Mel Odom pits organization against organization and man against man as internal politics and personal jealousies arise. The outcome promises not to be simple when one member makes a Faustian bargain that might endanger the entire human world.

EXODUS is a magnificent opening to a trilogy, setting up powerful characters, legends and personal histories as a background. The reader is drawn into the characters of both Simon and Warren as their personal histories make them multi-dimensional and indeed mythical. The powerful portrait of father and son relationships complements the fast-paced action, adding depth and personal stakes into the approaching apocalypse. Fierce loyalties and resentments undergird dynamic adrenaline-high action. Mel Odom displays a sweeping and thorough command of history and literature as well as more modern pop culture, making the world of HELLGATE LONDON a riveting read that gives more and more delight with each new finely embedded precise detail. Mel Odom captures the magic and lure of ancient history, merging elemental forces with physical science and modern technology in a trilogy that will appeal to action lovers, computer gamers, Medievalists and Moderns, and just about anyone who loves a great science fiction or dark fantasy read. EXODUS, Book One of HELLGATE, LONDON is a brilliant tale from a master storyteller.

Publisher: Pocket Star (June 2007)
Series: Hellgate London
Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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