Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book Review: The Hunters

Book Review: 'The Hunters' by Jack Lovejoy
4 / 5 Stars

'The Hunters' (256 pp) was published by Tor Books in February 1982. The cover art is by Thomas Kidd.

Jack Lovejoy (1937 - 2014) published a number of sf and fantasy novels during the 1980s; the best-known of these is the so-called 'Vision of Beasts' trilogy, also published by Tor Books.

'The Hunters' is set several centuries into the future, after the Earth has been subjugated by a race of mysterious, omnipotent aliens. The remnants of mankind live in scattered settlements, lying low during the daytime, and moving about with care lest they be spotted by the enormous spaceships of the aliens patrolling the skies. What little is known about the aliens suggests that they have turned the planet into one giant hunting ground, stocked with all manner of exotic creatures, including dinosaurs. To the Hunters, as the aliens are called, mankind is little more than vermin. 

Thelon, the young man who is the central character in the novel, lives in a settlement near the eponymous river in Northwestern Canada. As 'The Hunters' opens, he comes into possession of a diary, written long ago by a man who survived the invasion and went on to create the encampment where Thelon lives. The contents of the diary awaken in Thelon a desire to leave the confines of the settlement, to discover if any other human tribes survive - and whether their inhabitants have any information about how to defeat the Hunters.

Toting his bow and arrow and knife, and wearing a camouflaged tunic, Thelon sets out on foot for the territory once known as the United States. His journey will set him against alien monsters, dangerous bands of feral Wildmen, and ultimately, a confrontation with the Hunters themselves................

'The Hunters' is at heart an 'old school' sci-fi adventure novel. The plot is simple, straightforward, and devoid of artifice. Author Lovejoy has the ability to properly pace his narrative, delivering action sequences, and revelations about the world under the heels of the Hunters, at well-timed intervals. The only complaint I had about the novel was the often stilted nature of the dialogue, and the rather rushed, rather contrived nature of the final chapters. 

But all things considered, if you're looking for a quick, engaging read, then 'The Hunters' delivers. In fact, I'd categorize it as one of the more entertaining sf novels of the 80s. Used copies can be had for affordable prices, so this one is well worth picking up.

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