the emperor's railroad
Dystopian future, dragons, knights, zombies. These are just some of the elements of Guy Haley’s short novel, The Emperor’s Railroad: A Tale of the Dreaming Cities. TOR Books publishes a series of novels that average around 175 pages. Guy Haley’s first book in this series features a “knight” named Quinn who rescues a young woman and her 12-year-old son when their wagon breaks down. Quinn also saves them from a zombie attack. Haley provides a grim picture of a ruined world where 21st Century technology is gone. I liked the fact that Quinn carries two swords…and a pistol on his hip. If you’re looking for an adventure novel and a quick read, you’ll enjoy The Emperor’s Railroad. The second book in the series, The Ghoul King, just came out so I’ll be reading that book soon, too. GRADE: B

8 thoughts on “THE EMPEROR’S RAILROAD By Guy Haley

  1. Wolf Böhrendt

    So dystopian novels are back – or did they ever disappear at all?

    I remmber that in the 50s (probably because of the cold war and the threat of the H-bombs and Biological and Chemical weapons) there were many of them, some quite good.

    J Blish wrote some if I remember correctly and my favourite was written by a woman – just can’t remember her name, sorry. The “hero” survives because he’s immune, having been bitten by a rattle snake …

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Dystopian fiction is a huge part of fiction aimed at teens these days – The Hunger Games set the stage for a lot of followers.

    I had this one out of the library (actually, I downloaded a copy to the Kindle), but other things grabbed my attention so I returned it unread other than the beginning. I may give it another try if I can get my pile of books whittled down a little. (I can hear Rick laughing from here.)

  3. Richard R.

    The first word in your review turned me off. I’ve been hoping for a long time that the vampire / zombie craze would go away, but instead it’s had “dystopian” added to the mix. At this point in my reading life, I don’t want all the dark, grim, depressing, dark, world-fell-apart and this is what we’ve got left stuff. Doesn’t anyone write regular world stuff, without the crutch of dystopia in it? I like what Tor is doing with the novella length and short novel length fiction. I just wish it was a bit brighter.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, as Jeff pointed out dystopian fiction appeals to Millennials. I’m with you on zombies, dragons, and vampires. Over done! But, darkness sells today so writers like Guy Haley give the publishers what they want.

  4. Richard R.

    Well, no not dragons. There are VERY few fantasy novels that have them, or dwarves, or elves, orcs, etc. The traditional beats and people that are found in the classic fantasy novels seem to all have been wiped away with a wave of the hand and a “stupid old stuff” comment. Nope, give me dragons. But vampires and zombies, enough, already! The same with dystopia.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, TOR Books seems to be very market-driven. If dragons, zombies, vampires, and dystopian fiction sells then that’s what they’ll publish.


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