The first book in an apocalyptic SF/Western pulp series. Can be read as a stand-alone.

Publication year: 2017
Format: ebook, Kindle
Publisher: Dioscuri Press
Page count: 208

The Wild North is an unforgiving land where people die quickly without water or other equipment. Criminals also go there because the only law are the bounty hunters. The Coilhunter, Nox, is the most feared bounty hunter of them all. It’s his mission to punish the criminals and the coils he gets from them are just a necessary resource. He always uses a breathing mask and enjoys shooting the men who deserve it. Instead of a horse, he rides a monowheel.

But he’s also a man with a personal mission: he’s looking for the man who killed his wife and children. When he finds a possible clue, he lets nothing stand on his way to find the guilty party.

This is a fast-paced short book which very successfully brings to mind many Westerns (and their clichés). It even begins with Nox stepping into a bar where the people recoil from him and the proceeds to a shoot-out between Nox and Old Mad Jack. There are some intriguing glimpses to a larger world-building with sentient clockwork machines and the ruling Iron Empire is apparently run by demons. There’s also a group of other bounty hunters, including two women, so the women in the book don’t fall completely into the two categories allowed to women in most Westerns. In fact, for me one woman in the story is a more interesting character than Nox.

Some of the sentence structures can be confusing. I also think that the story could have been more poignant with just a couple of tweaks but overall this was a quick and quite enjoyable read. It feels like a pulp book with emphasis on action and fast pace.