Hard to start but then impossible to put down, March 8, 2004
Reviewer: A reader
... I tried literally 3 times to read this book but thought it was just too obtuse to figure out. But because Prof. Williams was my wife's English professor and advisor at college, and she held him in such high regard, I took another try. This time I stayed with it long enough and found that though the beginning didn't offer the quick action thrill of the start of the Star Wars movies, it led to a work that was far more substantial and satisfying in the long run than most anything else I've read.
I tend to like book series and rate them among my favorites because of character development, well developed and intriguing story lines or both. The Pelbar Cycle delivers both and is on the short list of books I've read more than once because of the messages and actions they contain. I had an opportunity to tell Prof. Williams how much I enjoyed this series, and why, and he seemed surprised that someone would talk to him about it. Humble man, very good writer.
My oldest son has read the series and liked it, now my youngest son is reading it and I may just read along with him so we can compare notes.
A nice find! I do not recall ever seeing or hearing of this book before reading a review of it here. I picked it up based on the review here and others at Amazon. It is always nice to find a new series to read, long after many of the books have been written. As far as I can tell, there are at least seven books in The Pelbar Cycle.
For those who are avid science fiction readers, The Breaking of Northwall is set in a post apocalyptic United States. It is not a "deal with the radioactive fallout and mutations" book, but rather a book about cultural evolution and the clash of peoples who are just now plentiful enough to have to start interacting with each other, whose lives and histories have little to do with the "Time of Fire".
Paul O. Williams, the author, tells the tale exceptionally. His introduction to the hero of the novel, Jestak, is one of the best I've ever read.
This is good science fiction and worth your attention.