cover image Lord of Order

Lord of Order

Brett Riley. Imbrifex, $27 (440p) ISBN 978-1-945501-41-8

Riley (Comanche) presents a convincingly bleak vision of the future in his latest. Set at a time when “even the word country sounded archaic” given the disarray the United States has fallen into, the story is framed by an unnamed man taking his two children to a cemetery to tell them the story of a generations-old struggle within the cult that has taken over the government. After fundamentalist Christian Jonas Strickland was elected president, he wiped out all of America’s electronic technology in an event called the Purge. Now Strickland’s successor, Matthew Rook, plans a second Purge, killing all those he considers opposed to his regime. But his plan to convert New Orleans into a prison runs into unexpected resistance from Gabriel Troy, that city’s Lord of Order, after Troy learns that the mass incarceration is a prelude to a scheme to annihilate the city. The ensuing violence will be too gory for some readers, but those who stick with it will find Riley has a facility for fast-paced action that keeps the pages turning. Though the worldbuilding is a bit murky, there’s plenty to keep readers’ attention and enough questions are left open to make a sequel welcome. Those who like their dystopias especially gritty will want to take a look. (Apr.)