Summertime is a good time to read about a country in permanent winter, right? Or would the story go better if one were warm and dry inside during a blizzard? It likely wouldn’t matter for The Wintermen books penned by Brit Griffin are so good, you’ll forget about the weather for a while.
The concept is that a permanent winter has descended far enough south that people need to be relocated because the government cannot afford to maintain any type of services such as electricity and such for those that want to stay. So the government outsources the task of relocating people and resources south to Talos, a security company. However, Talos has their own way of doing things and is happy enough to kill people rather than forcibly remove them. Nice, eh? So one day, a man named Johnny Slaught takes action against a Talos employee that shoots a worker in cold blood for stealing a warm set of gloves.
A fellow worker with Johnny is Chumboy Commando, an Algonquin who joins him in the rebellion. Thus begins the legend of the “Wintermen” as many follow the two into forming a small community established in the Fraser Hotel in Cobalt, Ontario.
Of course, the government nor Talos is impressed by the actions of the Wintermen, so they send a crack team of assassins to eliminate Johnny Slaught and establish control in the area.
The Wintermen II: Into the Deep Dark, is a fine sequel as the community, struggling to persist in an old building with no electricity, is now the target of several people who think there is a stash of gold in the area of Cobalt that the Wintermen are sitting on. Prime amongst them is Bodie Dejohn, a mean SOB if there ever was one. Of course, the Wintermen have no idea about the gold and are caught in the middle of all these groups that think they have it, or at least know where it is. The mood is especially dark and the atmosphere tense in the sequel. I would recommend reading the first book before tackling the second just so you are more familiar with all the characters. Be warned though: while there is not a lot of violence, there is a plethora of F-bombs. There’s a lot of angry people in the Wintermen books, aside from Johnny, who is a reluctant leader and Chumboy, who is no Tonto-type sidekick, as he is quick to remind Johnny that this is Algonquin territory, always has been and always will be.
I really enjoyed the idea of a permanent type of winter environment in these two books (“Cli-Fi” is the new genre of fiction books with climate change as their focus). The “whys” of climate change are not deeply explored in The Wintermen, merely trying to survive on wood heat while hunting and scavenging vacated homes for supplies (especially coffee, tea and gasoline) takes all their time. They are essentially cut off from the outside world so they know little of what’s happening. They hope for some sign of Spring while trying to survive day-to-day.
If people would just leave them alone.
I certainly hope there is a Book III forthcoming!
“The Wintermen II: Into the Deep Dark continues the fast-paced saga of the first book and adds a new layer of nail-biting climate angst.” – Dan Bloom, editor, The Cli-Fi Report
The Wintermen Series is written by Brit Griffin
Latitude 46 Publishing
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