Ashes of the Earth: A Mystery of Post-Apocalyptic America

Ashes of the Earth: A Mystery of Post-Apocalyptic America

by Eliot Pattison


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Thirty years after global holocaust, the colony of Carthage still struggles to build its new world. While steam engines and other early industrial technology have empowered its economy, the fragile society is undermined by secret crimes, rifts between generations, government censorship, and a legacy of casting out those who suffer from radiation sickness.

Embittered survivor Hadrian Boone—once a revered colony founder—has been hounded by despair and the ghosts of his past into a life of drunkenness and frequent imprisonment for challenging the governor’s tyranny. But when a gentle old man, the colony’s leading scientist, is murdered, Hadrian glimpses chilling secrets behind the killing that could destroy the colony. Realizing that he may be the only one able to expose the truth, Hadrian begins a desperate quest through the underbelly of the colony into the wrenching camps of the outcasts, escorted by a young policewoman who struggles to cope with the physical and emotional remnants of the prior world. Ultimately Hadrian’s journey becomes one of self-discovery, and to find justice his greatest challenge is navigating the tortuous path of the human spirit in a world that has been forever fractured.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582436449
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Eliot Pattison is the author of The Skull Mantra, winner of the Edgar Award and finalist for the Gold Dagger, Water Touching Stone, Bone Rattler, and most recently Eye of the Raven. Pattison resides in rural Pennsylvania with his wife, three children, two horses, and two dogs on a colonial-era farm.

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Ashes of the Earth: A Mystery of Post-Apocalyptic America 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
jasonpettus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)It may sound at first to be the height of cheesy cross-genre gimmickry -- a modern-style crime drama set within a James Howard Kunstleresque post-apocalyptic, neo-Luddite America -- but in Ashes of the Earth, mystery veteran Eliot Pattison takes what could've been an extremely eye-rolling experience and actually makes it taut and fascinating, a thriller that I admit I found more engaging than most other crime novels set within much more workaday surroundings. And that's because Pattison chooses to take a sober, toned-down approach to his world-building here, concocting a crime that fits in very naturally with the quasi-Victorian, surrounded-by-ruins milieu of these kinds of novels, making the story much less about radioactive mutants and hidden caches of Barbie dolls (although both these things are there as well), and much more about how the human capacity for both compassion and greed will long survive whatever circumstances we humans find ourselves in, not a utopia or a wasteland like so many post-apocalyptic thrillers are but simply a new way of life and new ways for people to act both honorably and horribly. The twist-filled plot is best left a surprise, which is why I won't mention anything about what actually "happens" here; but let's just say that fans of both Scott Turow and dystopian sci-fi are likely to be highly satisfied with this quickly paced, always fascinating book, a story that manages to be not only inventive in its plot but even introduces lots of original elements to its details, something becoming harder and harder to do in our post-Road times, when an ever-expanding glut of post-apocalyptic novels seems sometimes to be in danger of cannibalizing itself to death. A pleasant surprise and a much better novel than I was expecting, it comes strongly recommended.Out of 10: 9.3
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thirty years after most of the world was destroyed, a group of survivors try to prevent the same catastrophies and behaviors that had doomed civilization the first time. Great group of characters and very good storyline make this an extremely interesting read.
bezoar44 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eliot Pattison's ninth mystery is his first set in a post-apocalyptic community along one of the Great Lakes. It presents a number of his characteristic themes. The setting is a shattered culture, like Tibet after the Chinese invasion in the Shan novels, or the post-Colombian contact setting of the Bone Rattler-Eye of the Raven series. The main character is emotionally damaged but bound by honor to solve the truth of a murder, even if it kills him -- and he pays for each new nugget of information by suffering physical violence and injury. Characters from the old world carry a sense of survivor's guilt; characters from the new, damaged world are struggling against long odds to find their footing. Somehow these themes seemed very convincing when applied to Tibet -- perhaps because I don't know much about Tibet or Tibetan Buddhism, and the themes reinforced a narrative I was open to believing. It's been interesting to see how much less compelling these ideas have felt in his other settings, perhaps because they are so saturated with loss that they don't feel real when not anchored in a real historical moment. Ashes of the Earth includes some nods at peace, love, and human decency, but they don't really come into their own until late in the book, too late to define the world of the story. I think, in this setting, the tale I'd rather have read is the one that starts as this book ends.
housecarl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am fascinated with near time apocalyptic novels. It's a little bit sick, I know. The first one I recall reading was when I was in high school. I am Legend by Richard Matheson told the story of a man who was alone in a world of zombies (or werewolves, the book didn't make that part clear). Some worldwide disaster (again not specified) had destroyed society. It was a gripping story, and probably had a lot to do with my continuing fascination with this type of story. The movie that was recently made from it did not even come close to portraying the tension that Matheson evoked in his writing. Ashes of the Earth has some of the tension of I am Legend. The author Pattison does not try to explain in detail what happened to create the setting of the story. He dribbles out details as he unfolds this tale of crime and corruption in the post-disaster settlement of survivors on the north shore of Lake Superior, perhaps near Thunder Bay, Ontario. The 'detective' of this 'mystery' , Hadrian Boone (who reminds me of Kurt Wallender), stumbles around making mistake after mistake, but in the end gets it all figured out. Many interesting characters are introduced in the story. Each one is presented as faillable, with their mistakes in full display. And the whole story has not been told. If the book is successful, then expect a sequel. I'll read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a surprise. I love post apoc books and this was really good. I have basically read them all and suggest this one. It is thoughtful, well written, etc. Would write more but takes a long time on my Nook :)
Jodi_Ann_Hanson More than 1 year ago
Picture the world if you survived nuclear war. What would it be like to re-create society, to rebuild homes from refuse and nurse the soil to yield crops once more? That is what the survivors have endured to create the colony of Carthage. Hadrian Boone is one of the founding fathers of the colony, but he has fallen from grace. Once a teacher, he was removed from the position due to drunkenness and challenging the Governor resulting in a long list of prison stays. When Hadrian’s mentor Jonah Beck is found hanging in the library while it is burning, a piece of his journal missing, Hadrian vows to find the responsible party and bring him to justice. As he pieces together snippets of information from Jonah’s personal journal and a gang of young orphans, Hadrian is lead to the neighboring colony of exiles and learns there is a third colony across the great lake whose inhabitants are convicts involved in smuggling and a conspiracy that threatens not only the very existence of Carthage but also its inhabitants. With the help of policewoman Jori Waller and Emily an exiled founder of Carthage, Hadrian travels into the old world to stop the smugglers from bringing a dangerous shipment to Carthage and finally catch his friend’s killer. With “Ashes of the Earth,” Eliot Pattison brings us into a dystopian society still bound by class discrimination and corrupt officials. He takes the reader on a journey that is bound to make one wonder if they could survive in such conditions. His characters are complex and his writing masterful. Pattison has created another winner amongst his long list of successful novels. Definitely add this to your reading list; it is well worth the cost of the book. Reviewed by Jodi Ann Hanson for Suspense Magazine
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retsquid More than 1 year ago
Even $9.99 is high for an ebook. $14 plus a few pennies is over the top. Will not pay that much money for a book that evaporates everytime your Nook decides you need to register again and wipes out all your books.