If you’re a video gamer and enjoy the likes of Bethesda’s Fallout, Rust, or movies like Mad Max, you’re going to want to step into C.T. Phipps’ world of Cthulhu Armageddon. Phipps creates a post-apocalyptic world where the United States has been destroyed by an event called the Rising when the “Great Old Ones” have returned to reclaim our world as their own. The world as we know it is thrown into chaos and the blasted wastelands are plagued by nasty creatures, sub-human species, and factions. The setting is diverse, well explored, and makes an excellent backdrop for any number of stories to take place.
Enter John Henry Booth. Booth is the leader of a ranger/extermination team called Gamma squad which protects the interests of New Arkham, a city-state in the former United States where some of the last remnants of humanity reside. Booth has a lot of familiarity fighting the monstrous creatures of the wasteland but is plagued by the loss of his previous team, Alpha squad. While struggling with these inner demons, Booth again loses his team, Gamma squad, by an unexpected ambush in a place called the Black Cathedral. When Booth awakes, he is surprised to find out that his torturer, Mercury, is disillusioned with New Arkham and requests Booth’s help to escape, traverse the wasteland, and go to a place called Kingsport. Booth agrees to help but is hell-bent on vengeance for the loss of his team. The cathedral calls to him, and Booth wants revenge.
C.T. Phipps does a good job developing an interesting backdrop for this revenge story. The elements of the world touch on enough familiar tropes that I was easily able to picture the broken world and horrifying creatures that Booth comes in contact with. Each character had a distinct feel from the stiff personality of Mercury, Booth’s sarcastic nature, and Booth’s old-world Hawaiian shirt-wearing ghoul friend Richard. Though there are a lot of horror elements, darkness, and internal struggle, the book felt like a fun almost pulp style story. I was thoroughly entertained.
The only negative point I have is the novel advertises itself as a post-apocalyptic western, and I never got that vibe. The technology level is futuristic; a science level only somewhat further advanced than ours though not enough to classify this as sci-fi by any means. The horror and supernatural elements ground this book in fantasy. The main character does wear a Stetson and duster, but that seems to be where the western element ends. Now Stephen King’s The Dark Tower can classify as a post-apocalyptic western because Roland uses an old-style revolver and the story lends itself to the themes of an old western flick. It’s a minor complaint, but if you’re going into this book looking for some Clint Eastwood film or even a Fantasy Western like The Dark Tower, you will not find this to be the same feel.
Overall, I highly recommend you give this book a shot. C.T. Phipps creates a world with realized characters and a good story with good pacing, tension, Lovecraftian elements, and a satisfying ending. If you like post-apocalyptic fantasy, Cthulhu mythos, or supernatural elements to your fantasy, Cthulhu Armageddon is a good choice.
About the Author: C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on “The United Federation of Charles” (http://unitedfederationofcharles.blog…).
He’s recently released the novels “The Rules of Supervillainy”, “The Games of Supervillainy”, and “Esoterrorism.” His third novel, “Wraith Knight” is expected to release in January of 2016.