|Publication date||December 1995|
| Preceded by|
| Followed by|
RITES OF PASSAGE
In the aftermath of the apocalypse little remains except age-old evils of greed, perversion and force. But a small group of survivalists cherishes the legacy of human courage and hope. led by the charismatic Ryan Cawdor, they persevere in a brutal world through warrior skills and a bold desire to regain the promised future.
SEASONS OF NIGHT
The fertile bayous teem with mutant life-forms and altered species. Off on a trek with his son, Ryan fends off the dangers from marauders and Nature's traps, but also finds signs of hope for humanity's new future. But the ultimate threat comes upon them in an unguarded moment, shocking in its scope and casting more blame on generations past.
In the Deathlands, nothing is as it appears.
This book starts right where the previous one left off - with the companions fleeing the natives in the Amazon Jungle. They've just saved Jak from being sacrificed, killing the village chief and high priest along the way, and the natives are pissed. Ryan and JB hold them off while everyone jumps, then they get in as the natives dump gasoline into the control room and light it. One of them gets the door open as the process starts up, but he doesn't get more than a hand inside.
When the two men arrive at their new destination, they find the hand lying on the floor. Once everyone had been reunited, they explore the new redoubt. The passage from the gateway leads upward in a gentle spiral; they find many doors along the way leading to labs (according to the map), but they're all locked.
They leave the redoubt and head down a path into the bayous of Louisiana. Jak sees a dead deer off the path, and JB finds a samurai arrow in it. Further along, they're attacked by a band of swampies. After the fight, they meet up with Johannes Ford, a filmmaker. They camp together and head off toward the nearest ville, a place called Bramton.
On the outskirts of town, they come across a small shop that sells charms and totems. Most of the group go inside to take a look. The shop is run by a woman and her husband; the husband is slightly crazed and thinks they're all spies for "the Family". Things remain calm, however, until Ford bursts into the shop with his weapon drawn. The woman and her husband get killed, and the husband's flintlock (which is primed, but not loaded) goes off in Ryan's face; the resultant flash blinds him.
They flee the shop and take shelter in an abandoned house nearby. After a day or so, they decide to go into town. They get rooms at the local inn, and Ford talks to the mayor about putting on a showing for the folks that evening. The last film he shows is a self-made horror flick with Ford starring as a faux vampire; it sends everyone into a panic, and order is restored only when a member of the Family, Elric Cornelius, appears. He issues an invitation to stay at their mansion, then leaves.
The next day, as Ford does his filming around town, Ryan and Krysty go for a walk alone. Ryan wanders off into an abandoned house and is attacked by a horde of rats, which he fights off. They're on the way back to Bramton when a huge gator grabs Krysty and hauls her into the swamp. Ryan goes after her and frees her, but he's caught up with the gator as it flees back to its lair. There, he manages to kill it and find his way back out.
When they get back, everyone watches the film Ford's made; Elric appears on it near the end, but he's fuzzy. Doc and Mildred, being the only ones knowledgeable of predark mythology and pop culture, have their suspicions, but remain silent, so the companions head up to the mansion.
After dinner, they're all locked in their rooms. The next day, it rains all day, so they're forced to remain inside, left to their own devices; Ford goes off on his own to do some filming. It's not until the next day that they get to meet some members of the Family, Elric and Thomas. They let slip that they know about Overproject Whisper, as well as some of its subprojects. At the end of the meal, the companions are given a selection of drinks, all of which are drugged. Ryan drinks only part of his, so he receives a lesser dose than the others.
He awakens in the middle of the night, not sure why, and leaves his room. He has an overwhelming sense of danger, so he checks the other rooms. All are locked, but the attic door, which was always locked (and which was barred to them) is open. Before he can go in, he's attacked and knocked unconscious. The others find him in the hallway; they also find Ford dead and his equipment destroyed.
The next morning, another of the Family, Mary, appears at breakfast. She tells Ryan that she knows of a treatment that may help him see again, so he goes up to the attic with her. There, she ties him down to the bed and effectively rapes him, draining some of his genetic material. He's later released, unharmed, and tells Krysty about what happened.
The next day over dinner, the Family members reveal the secrets behind their origins - that they were created as part of the Genesis Project and need genetic material. Melmoth takes Dean hostage to prevent the others from leaving and retreats to the attic.
At midnight, the companions act. They slip down to the cellar, where Thomas and Mary are gloating over Dean. They kill Thomas, but Mary grabs Dean and flees to the attic. Krysty summons her Gaia power and beats Mary to death.
They escape the house and head toward the river, where they find Elric. Ryan impales him on a wrought-iron fence, and they continue on to the redoubt. Melmoth catches up to them and enters the gateway chamber as the jump is ongoing, latching his hands around Ryan's neck. He blacks out as the book ends.
- In Bloodlines, Ryan notes a painting that Doc thought was by "an inferior Dutch artist named Van Helsing". Victor von Helsing (his surname is often mispelled) was a vampire hunter from Bram Stoker's Dracula.
- Johannes Ford mentions that he once viewed a movie with Harry Dean Stanton in it, and it was the worst film he'd ever seen. Harry Dean Stanton was the favourite actor of Laurence James, and inspired several characters.
- The film that Johannes Ford says he watched was Rebel Rousers.