Amtrak Wars Appreciation Thread

I’m not sure how many of you have read the Amtrak Wars series by Patrick Tilley, but I feel it’s really underappreciated. I first heard about it on a literacy promoting TV show here in SA. Intrigued I found a copy of Cloud Warrior in my school library and was quickly hooked. It’s a great imaginative story and the characters are all quite compelling. It kept me quite entertained back in Grade 9 when I read it.

For those of you not in the know the story is set in a post apocalyptic setting where there are only three (known) surviving groups
[li]Lone Star Confederacy - Descendants of the US military who survived the war due to being on duty in the various underground installations (NORAD, Missile Silos). Ruled over by the ‘First Family’ oligarchy. They reside in large underground bases connected via train lines but have begun to move back into the ‘blue-sky world’ using highly armored ‘wagon trains’ to annihilate the remaining above ground residents namely the…[/li][li]Mutant Plainsfolk - The ‘mutes’ are descendents of cities and towns that survived the attack. Due to high levels of radiation the majority of them are seemingly mentally retarded and have physical altered appearance (bony ridges on the head, skin discoloration). However among them are ‘straights’, mutants with seemingly normal intelligence and even ‘super straights’ who are indistinguishable from anyone from the Lone Star Confederation. They are organised into various clans and lead a lifestyle very similar to that of Native Americans. However (and this is a big however) a few of them seemingly have developed the ability to wield magic. They believe in the ‘Talisman Prophecy’ a massive catastrophic event that looks like it will soon be fulfilled. The plainsfolk have also been in contact with visitors from across the Pacific bringing us to the…[/li][li]Iron Masters - Descendants of Japan and Korea who have reverted to the feudal system of the Samurai. They trade with the mutes (including trading for mute slaves) and have a higher level of technology than mutes (but less of the LSC) including steam ships and the use of gunpowder. They are arranged into a number of strict hieracrhical clans, with each clan forging alliances with other clans for dominance.[/li][/ul]
The story revolves around Steve Brickman, an Airman with the LSC who, on his first wagon train mission, crashes and is rescued by the mutes from the McCall Clan. There he discovers the existence of straights and the ability of some of the plainsfolks to wield extraordinary power. Over the 6 books he travels back to the LSC, back to the plainsfolk, to the land of the Irons Masters and back to the LSC discovering just how much the First Family seemingly really knows and seemingly unsure of where his loyalties lie.

The author, Patrick Tilley, has a nice overview of all 6 books on his website.

It’s full of politics and intrigue and I think it’s one of the more underrated Sci-Fi series. So are there any other Amtrak Wars fans out there?

You mean to tell me that amongst all the Sci-fi freaks on the SDMB there isn’t one person besides me who read the Amtrak Wars and liked it?

I fought an Amtrak war once. I bought an Acela ticket on standby and the bastards overbooked!

If I only had smuggled my Bazooka into Penn Station…

I thought the series was okay, but not great. It’s a while since I read them, but IIRC they got a bit randomly mystical towards the end too.

The trains were kinda nifty though.

I have to say I liked Star Wartz a whole lot more.