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Friday, November 27, 2020

The Graceful Mist Reads: End World, Capital Run #9 (Book Review)

I. Title of the Novel
End World, Capital Run #9 (1988)

II. Author
David L. Robbins

III. Short background information about the author
David "Dave" Larence Robbins is an American author and was born in Southeastern Pennsylvania. He is a writer, outdoorsman, and broadcaster. He writes both fiction and non-fiction books and his writing has been critically praised by the Pulp Rack, among others. He is perhaps best known for two current long-running series, the "Wilderness". and the "End World". He has also written hundreds of books under his own name and many pen names. At age seventeen, he enlisted in the armed forces, and after serving overseas, he returned to travel through America. David Robbins is acquiring a devoted core of the readers who enjoy his finely crafted tales of adventure, romance, mystery, and excitement.

IV. Main Characters
A. Protagonists
Blade, Hickok, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and Lexine.

Blade and Hickok are warriors. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is also a warrior, and a skilled martial artist, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi`s skills as a martial artist was renowned, the tales of his exploits matched or surpassed by only a few of the warriors: Blade, Geronimo, Yama, and definitely Hickok." (This line can be seen on page 30.) Lexine was once one of the Leather Knights, but she didn`t like the way women ruled over men, and so she quit and was labelled "traitor" by the Leather Knights. (The lines that can prove this is on page 163 and was also mentioned on the answer in the question "If you were in the shoes of the characters, who would it be? Why?")

B. Antagonists
The Leather Knights (the "sisters" and the "studs), The Reds (the Russians).

The sisters are the women ruling over St. Louis, while the studs are the men whom the women treated as lowly as a slave. (The lines that can prove this is on page 163, and was also mentioned on the answer in the question "If you were in the shoes of one of the characters, who would it be? Why?")

* How are the characters presented/introduced?
The characters were presented/introduced by saying their names or describing their physical characteristics; it is either their face, or their clothes, and accessories that they`re wearing or both. They were also presented/introduced by their facial expressions, actions, and movements.

"The stranger. Calmly standing in the middle of the road, not ten feet away, he was wiry, a diminutive man dressed in black. His features were handsomely Oriental, his eyes, and dark hair. A long, black scabbard was clutched in his left hand." (These lines can be seen at page 11 of the book.)  The stranger was Rikki-Tikki-Tavi based on his self-introductory when he was asked who is he. "I am called Rikki, the newcomer replied in a soft, low voice." (This line can be seen at page 12 of the book.)

* Who among the characters do you like the best? Why?

Among the characters in the book, I like Blade the most because first, he`s loving and very loyal to his wife even if his wife is not with him all the time.

On pages 109-110, some lines say and prove that Blade is loyal to his wife:

"Blade straightened 'I do not have the...hots...for her. I already have selected my mate for eternity.'"

In this line, Blade is referring to Lexine, that he doesn`t have the hots for her because he already has a mate for eternity.

"Blade`s mouth curled downward disdainfully. 'I also have no desire to jump her...buns. I have pledged loyalty to my wife, and I will not violate my vow'"

In this line, Blade said that he has no desire no jump Lexine`s buns because he has pledged loyalty to his wife.

"Blade nodded. ' The only fox I want to have fun with is my wife. We are loyal to one another because we love each other.'"

In this line, Blade explained that he won`t play any romantic or sexual games with any other woman but his wife because he and his wife both love each other.

By those lines, it indicated that Blade is very committed to his wife even though his wife wasn`t around him.

Second, I like him most among the other characters because he is a brave man who came back to save his friends` life even though he can just go without his friends and save his own life.

"Rikki and Lex were hanging from the far wall, still in chains. Both were gagged. Blade raced across the dirt floor. He tore the gag from Rikki`s mouth. 'Where are the keys to your shackles?' he asked." (These lines can be seen on page 126.) In these lines, it demonstrated that Blade was trying to save his friends, Rikki and Lex, and was trying to remove their gags and shackles.

And last, I like him because he believes in gender equality, that no matter what gender you`re born with, you are given a chance to have the same rights and responsibilities with the opposite sex.

"Blade shook his head. ' Our men and women share responsibility. You can`t really say one dominated the other.'" (These lines can be seen on page 53.)

"'Women aren`t better than the men,' Blade was saying. 'And men aren`t better than women. They`re just different from one another. The secret is to recognize the differences and complement each other, whether in a marriage or in society as a whole.'" (These lines can be seen at pages 151-152.)

Blade explained that men and women in his place are equal and shares the responsibilities.

All in all, I like Blade because of his characteristics such as being a devoted husband to his wife, a courageous warrior, a true friend, and someone who believes in gender is not an obstacle in having the same obligations with the opposite sex,

* If you were in the shoes of one of the characters, who would it be? Why?

It would be Lexine because even though she`s a woman and was once one the "sisters" and a Leather KNight, she disagreed on how the leader, Terza, was ruling the Leather Knights, and letting the women dominate making the men more like their slaves. She also believes in gender equality like Blade. "'The older I got,' Lex said bitterly, 'the more I realized how sick the situation was. I mean, here we have all of these women bossing the men around like the males are the scum of the earth. No love. No deep feelings. No caring. Just the sisters and their sex toys. I knew the studs didn`t respect us. In fact, I suspect they downright hate us. And I grew really tired of the whole trip.'" (These lines can be seen on page 163.) These lines state that Lexine realized how bad and awful the situation she is in, bossing around the males.

It would also be Lexine because she`s a brave woman, one thing that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi admired. "They swam for all they were worth, and Rikki found himself admiring her endurance and ability. Not once during Slither`s attack had she screamed or otherwise betrayed any hint of panic. The woman was brave, there was no doubt about that. And as a dedicated Warrior, Rikki appreciated courage the most." (These lines can be seen on page 62.)

V. Setting
A. Time
100 years after World War III.
(It was written at the back page of the book.)

B. Place
What used to be called America.
(It was written at the back page of the book.)

The main characters, Blade, Lexine and Rikki-Tiki-Tavi, and the antagonists, the Leather Knights were at St. Louis. Hickok, one of the main characters was also in St. Louis, but he was taken to Washington D.C. but made his way back to St. Louis.

* Is the place authentic, or true to the period? Explain your answer.

No, because the author probably predicted what America would look like 100 years after World War III. Still, the United States of America, is of course, authentic and true to the period, it`s just not the same with how the place in the story is because there would be no technologies because of the massive damage World War III gave and the place in real life wherein there are technologies, malls and commercial areas.

* Is the setting relevant or suited to the story? Why?

Yes, because the setting is how America would look like 100 years after the World War III, and the story is about the Russians trying to conquer the world and spread communism., not satisfied yet with how the World War III damaged America. Some of the Americans, Leather Knights, were trying to protect their place, and their people in St. Louis, against their enemies, the Russians. Hence, they weren`t welcome with any outsiders, that`s why when they found out about the main characters (Blade, Hickok and Lexine) were in their place, they tried to kill them. It`s relevant because, after the World War III, there weren`t any unity in the states of America, that`s why in one state and the other, there were different kinds of groups, people, gangs, ruling that state. Also, in the story, they weren`t using much of the modern gadgets, because World War III might have destroyed it all.

VI. Summary

100 years after World War III, America was in the tight grip of the Russians, making the leaders and rulers of a state protect their people and territory. The blade is a warrior who tried to get his friend, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi back who was held captive by the Leather KNights. Still, while doing this, Hickok, a comrade of his and also a warrior, was held captive by the Russians and was brought to Washington D.C., the capital of America. The blade was able to get his friend back along with Lexine, a woman Rikki-Tikki-Tavi saved from the Leather Knights who was also trying to kill her. The leader of the Leather knights, Terza, and the supposed-to-be leader after Terza`s death, Erika, were both dead, and so Blade, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Lexine had the chance to escape. Hickok also escaped from the Russians because He tricked Lieutenant Voroshilov (one of the Russians) to bring him back to St. Louis.

VII. Conflicts
* What is the main problem?

The main problem is that because of the Leather Knights trying to protect their territory against their enemies, outsiders weren`t welcome, and so Blade needs to find a way of saving his friend, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from being killed by Leather Knights.

"'We don`t need any more people in St. Louis,' Terza answered. 'We already have about as many as the Knights can handle. Besides, outsiders always want to change things. They`re just like you.....'" (These lines can be seen on page 155.)

* How is the main problem solved?

The main problem was solved when Blade along with Rikki and Lexine fought the Leather KNights and other creatures such as Slither, a creature Rikki described as a mutant that was radically affected by the radiation and chemicals. "The generic constitution of many forms of wildlife had been radically affected by the radiation and chemicals." (This line can be seen on page 58.) Grotto, "The red snout, at least four feet wide and 2 feet high." (This line can be seen on page 192.) and the rats, Both Lexine and Rikki escaped Slither by Rikki`s idea of removing the rope they`re both tied with, "Rikki reached up, slashing at Lexine`s rope with his knife." (This line can be seen on page 60.), and when Rikki released Lexine, dropping her to the Mississippi River, Rikki plunged the knife into Slither`s left eye. At the same time, He joined Lexine and swam to the bank. "He bent at the waist and swam toward the back, away from the mutant, heading downstream, to the south." (This line can be seen on page 62.) Rikki and Lexine won the fight from escaping the big rats when they found out that the rats didn`t like the lights, and so the rats backed out. "Neither rodent showed any inclination to pursue them too closely.", "'They don`t like the light,' Lex commented." (These lined can be seen on page 68.) Blade, on the other hand, instead of being fed to Grotto, he and Rikki fought the Leather Knights who was watching and guarding them, and Blade managed to push Terza into the pit where Grotto is and let her be fed instead. Blade also plunged the bodies into Grotto`s brown orbs. "Blade plunged the bodies into Grotto`s brown orbs, all the way in, and twisted." (This line can be seen on page 199.) And after doing that, Grotto came dead. "Grotto was lying in the centre of the pit, on its side, it`s mouth open and slack, its eyes pools of green fluid, its legs curled up, its tail quivering. Grotto was dead." (These lines can be seen on page 200.) They also escaped Erika`s idea of smoking them out, using torches. Rikki, while giving time for Lex and Blade to climb up the wall, he had killed Erika when she came nearer. "Before she could fire again, his right arm swept back, then forward, holding the hilt of the katana, hurling the sword-like he would take a spear.", "She released the shotgun and doubled over as the first waves of pain struck.", "She dropped to the ground, her hands on the hilt, scowling in excruciating agony," (These lines can be seen on page 219.) After that, Blade, Rikki and Lexine had the chance to escape and meet their friend Hickok who just got back from Washington D.C. through tricking Lieutenant Voroshilov (one of the Russians)

* How did the main conflict affect the characters?

The main conflict affected the characters in so many ways. One of the main characters, Blade, even though he had the chance to escape and save his own life, he showed true comradeship, because He didn`t leave without his friend Rikki with him. As for Rikki, he also didn`t leave without his friend, Blade, he could`ve also saved his life, but no matter what gets in the way, he still planned on escaping with his friend. Through those conflicts, he also met Lexine, and he had admired her personality because she`s brave and courageous. And by that, he developed a romantic feeling towards her, which he didn`t felt yet before. And for Lexine, she was amazed by how skilled and smart Blade and Rikki are, seeing them fight throughout most of the story. Hickok, on the other hand, learned, learned more about the Russians, when he was held captive for the interrogation purposes. By that, he had more knowledge of the questions he`s been pondering on before, why the Russians weren`t attacking the Civilized Zone.

* Are there minor problems in the novel? What are those?

Yes. First is when Blade and Hickok didn`t know what to do and was wondering why the people in the helicopter kept firing the SEAL (Solar Energized Amphibious or the Land Recreational Vehicle) they were in. Second, they didn`t know whether Rikki was held captive or not. If he was, they didn`t know who got him.

VIII. Ending
* What is the ending of the novel?

The ending was when Blade, Rikki, Lex escaped from the Leather Knights, they met up with Hickok who just got back from Washington D.C. using the helicopter of the Russians. Lexine is going with Blade, Rikki, and Hickok to their place because she was told that there is gender equality, love, friendship and good relationships with the neighbours there and so she wanted to experience those things. Looking back, she was brought up in an unpleasant environment. Lexine and Rikki might also get married, "'Oh, no.' Hickok looked at Rikki. 'Does this mean we`re gonna have another wedding soon?'", "Rikki shrugged. 'If the Spirit so guides us.'"

* If you were the author, would you make the same ending? Why?

Yes, because the story ended up a happy ending for both the Leather Knights and the protagonists. I think that it`s also a happy ending for the Leather Knights because their leader, Terza and supposed-to-be leader after her, Erika are dead. There might be some understanding more of the equality of genders, responsibilities and rights that can change that way they rule over the men if the story goes on. It`s also a happy ending to the protagonists because they came back to their place to their families, and I was happy that Rikki and Lex might get married if "the Spirit guides them".

IX. Theme
* What is the theme of the story?

The theme of the story is what would the world most especially the relationships of the states of America and Russia would be like if the world war III happened and 100 years after the world war III. Also, the theme can be the differences between the present and 100 years after the world war III happened. What would the situation be like if the states of America aren`t really united and was ruled by different nationalities, gangs, invaders and groups?

* Do you think the author was able to convey his/her message?

Yes, because in the story, it showed that there`s really no unison between the Americans and their states. They were still fighting each other when, on the contrary, they should be connecting and making alliances against the Russians. They were too afraid that they protected their territory and the people in them too much that they don`t really decide wisely whether it`s time to kill an outside or not. They were just aggressive and clumsy. And the author`s message was probably why the Americans didn`t win in the world war III. They were busy being highly, and there weren`t much very skilled people like Blade, Rikki and Hickok who keeps their dignity and make wise decisions, and people who can defend themselves. The Americans probably Los because the people think that the country can protect them and they were so sure about being safe all the time they didn`t expect that there would be a world war III.

X. Highlights/Highlight

The most unforgettable scene is when Rikki saved Lex from getting killed by some of the Leather KNights the very first time. (The way/s he saved her from the leather knights and their dogs can be read on pages 11-13, 30-31.) It was the most unforgettable scene because Lexine was surprised to see a strange man saving her from getting killed and Rikki appealed to be a light and shining armour of hers. She was pleased to see him. This part of the story gave a rising interest and excitement to the story because of how Lexine first saw a very skilled, fine-looking and sinewy man saving her.

XI. Personal Reaction/s

At first, I didn`t like the fact that the story is about wars, firing, guns and actions because I`m a girl. Naturally, I would most likely prefer a story that I can relate to like a love or comedy story or a story which has a setting I can imagine myself being there and one of the characters. But when I finished the story, I was intrigued. It was interesting because of its dominating theme, which was what America would be like 100 years after world war III since world war III didn`t happen. I was intrigued by the author`s point of view of what`s it like to be in a possible future. The story was interesting, but it just doesn`t really fit the stories I personally prefer more. If this novel had a movie, I would definitely watch it because I really want to see how America, its people and enemies will be portrayed 100 years after world war III.

Disclaimer: This book review was written by Kathryn G. when she was in high school as part of her requirements for her English class. This was in her blog drafts since May 2016. All opinions written in this blog post were written with utmost honesty and sincerity.

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