The premise is introduced by explaining to readers that Earth that has been shattered by an asteroid in the year 2050. Why isn't it called 'Survival 2050'? Civilization is left in ruins and we see the typical bandits, rovers and rogue Army sadists attempting to market their brand of Hell on Earth. These are all obligatory genre tropes of doomsday fiction. The paperback warrior is a former accountant named David Rand who is surviving by backpacking the wasteland with his sixteen year old son Lee and pit-bull Melmoth. The two have a quest that they reach David's wife and two daughters in California. It's the age-old monomyth of a heroic journey to fulfill a quest.
Like the title implies, Blood Quest is simply the trek the two take to reach California. Once there they discover that most of the state is now swimming in the Pacific. With a few clues, they find that their family may still be alive in a small town in Montana. As the two journey through a brutal nuclear winter they battle cannibals, animals and the elements. James is a rather technical author when it comes to firearms and all of these stories describe, in painful detail, every caliber bullet and make of weapon being used against assailants. By page 100 this becomes an infuriating staple of James' literary approach to the book.
Considering this is the first entry in the book, it wasn't a huge surprise to find the action lacking the first half. James invests his time setting up the series premise and delivers a solid second-half narrative with a bit more action and a hectic, but not rushed, finale. I was enthralled enough with the quest to buy the remaining two books of the series. If you like survival, action oriented fiction, you should love Blood Quest.
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