by Michael Resnick
Reviewed date: 2006 Jan 10
Rating: 4
192 pages
cover art

Nuclear war has destroyed civilization. Living in ancient subway tunnels, the powerful mutant Gareth Cole has built a small kingdom peopled by mutants as strange as he. Only Red Will Donahoe, his bloodthirsty general, is not a mutant. Donahoe grows frustrated with Cole's reluctance to let him fight battles in his own way, so he escapes the tunnels and joins the domain of regular, un-mutated men.

Donahoe joins forces with the Five Barons to wage war against Gareth Cole. Their attacking force, lead by Donahoe, is overwhelmed and entirely destroyed by Cole's mental powers: only Donahoe is left alive and is free to go. Of the five barons only barons Craston and Rysler (who did not lead their troops into battle) survive.

The only conclusion is that Cole is using Donahoe for some purpose. Baron Craston surmises this, and fearing that Cole will somehow be able to use Donahoe to gain enough power to take over the world, decides the way to save humanity is to kill Donahoe. The trick is, can he do it? Donahoe goes into hiding; he is confident that he can figure out a way to kill Cole before Craston kills him. It's a race against time.

Redbeard seems to have been largely forgotten, which is a shame. It is an interesting little novel. I recommend it.

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