The apocalypse happened, but no one knows how. All that’s left are a smattering of bizarro cities called remnants, each ruled by a grotesque potentate known as an Odd. If you wind up in hock to the Odds, they ship you to a chain-gang that stretches thousands of miles across desert, steppe, and tundra.
A good-hearted drifter named Eldridge is a longtime member of the Chain. Known as the “Red Rook” because of his triumph in the Xiang Tournament of 2603—a battle royale of live-action battle chess—Eldridge nevertheless wound up on the Chain because…well, he’s always getting in trouble trying to help his friends.
But when El’s best buddy Boris joins the Chain, he brings word that the Odds have declared war on their friends, each of them being held captive by a different Odd in a different remnant.
Eldridge and Boris escape the Chain, kicking off a breakneck tour of a psychedelic post-apocalyptic landscape that includes a wild race along a subterranean river of mud; a visit to remnant that’s like a massive ant colony; and a final showdown in a skyscraper-turned-temple that’s toppled along a river of lava.
“Peterson has built a bleak and visceral world as vividly imagined as Dune, then forced a group of optimists to survive it. Even amid a hopeless future coated in dust and self-made mutants, The Remnants is surprisingly funny and full of optimism about the incorruptibility of the human spirit. This book makes me wish I could travel into the future, not to the point at which this apocalyptic story takes place, but to when this book is already successful and I can play tabletop RPG version of it.”
“The level of invention here is off the charts. If you like your sci-fi sautéed in postapocalyptic motor oil and infused with the aroma of Mad Max: Fury Road bath salts, this is just for you. Pure fun.”
“The Remnants is a post-apocalyptic picaresque with more cool and invention than any dystopia in memory. Think Smokey and the Bandit: Fury Road. Peterson delivers massive heart and radioactive grit; the redhead rogue: Eldridge, friends to follow him into hell and lurid, lucid goons to fill it. A playful, sweet and brainy chase.”