Amtrak Wars

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The Amtrak Wars (The Amtrak Wars) form a six-volume science fiction cycle of the English author Patrick Tilley . The volumes were published in the English original from 1982 to 1993, and since 1990 in German translation by Ronald M. Hahn by Heyne Verlag .

Title of the volumes

  • Cloud Warriors ( Cloud Warrior , 1983)
  • First Family ( First Family , 1985)
  • Eisenmeister ( Iron Master , 1987)
  • Bloody River ( Blood River , 1988)
  • Todbringer ( Death-Bringer , 1989)
  • Erdendonner ( Earth-Thunder , 1993)


Paired with elements of fantasy , a scenario is designed that begins around the year 3000 on post-atomic earth. Prairie mutants and underground centers of the remaining American civilization are described in their struggle for survival in North America , in which heavily armed overland trains, additionally secured by light aircraft, play a central role. These trains are in the historical tradition of railways and treks and were named after today's US railroad company Amtrak .

Similar to many successful cycles of the genre and similar to Harry Potter , it is ultimately about the “divine child” who suffers for the world and ultimately liberates the world through and with its suffering or, in theological terms, “redeems” it. In the Amtrak war cycle, the birth of this child is foretold by the campfires with supernatural powers for centuries. A drug called "rainbow grass" also plays an important role in the book.

Main groups

There are three main groups that play a role:

The Amtrak Federation

A group of survivors gathered in underground cities. They are run by the "First Family", all of whose members are named after former presidents of the lost United States (for example, "Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jefferson"). The surname of all members is Jefferson. The leader of this group, called General-President, always goes by the name "George Washington Jefferson". The federation multiplies through artificial insemination, contact with the upper world is considered dangerous, although the radiation is no longer lethal. The apparent goal of the fascist federation is to save civilization and return to the overworld, but it seems to be more about keeping the First Family in power, as life on the surface is apparently no longer dangerous. Life within the federation is strictly regulated, even small violations of the “manual”, the legal text applicable there, can be punished with death. That is why people keep fleeing to the surface, these are called renegades. The cities of the Federation exchange resources and people through two types: either through subways or the aforementioned wagon trains. In addition, the wagon trains are the spearhead and combat units of the federated. The capital of the Federation is Houston , which is located on the site of the former capital of Texas , but the city, like everyone else, has been moved underground. The federation spreads around Texas. The federation's technical level is roughly (again) as it was in the 1980s, when the books were written, and thus far surpasses the other groups.

The mutants

The mutants live on the surface and are culturally similar to the Indians of North America . You are the declared enemy of the Federation, which you are trying to exterminate with attacks by wagon trains. Since they have mutated over the years from radiation, the Federation regards them as subhuman and not worth living. Most of them are genuinely mutated, but there are normal people among them as well. They are divided into different tribes named after former cities and areas of the United States. These in turn are divided into different groups. The most important tribe in the books are the "She-Kargo" (Chicago), whose enemies are the "D'Troit" (Detroit). The mutants inhabit almost all of the United States, with the exception of the Iron Masters. With the iron masters they exchange furs or slaves, who either volunteer from their ranks or consist of captured renegades, for weapons and equipment. At the same time, however, they also deal with the renegades. Since they have no uniform leadership, one can never know how individual tribes will behave, which makes them relatively unpredictable. The only time of peace is spring, when the mutants meet with the Iron Masters for bargaining.

The iron masters

The iron masters, who call themselves the “Sons of Ne-Issan”, are a very mysterious group up to the end of the second volume, who come once a year to deal with paddle steamers on the Upper Lake . They trade in weapons and agricultural implements. When a Federation spy is present in the second volume when the Iron Masters arrive, it turns out who they are: Asians. You live in the former New England states in a system of government that corresponds to the shogunate of Japan in the 17th century before the Meiji Restoration . Its supreme lord is the Shogun, who comes from one of the large families named after Japanese and Korean companies that exist today. Apparently the iron masters are descended from employees of the large Japanese companies who have teamed up with refugees from Asia. The iron masters know that they do not come from the USA, but they still refer to their homeland as the “Land of the Rising Sun”. All Asians are welcome in Ne-Issan, but their class system is based on the distance of the respective people from Fuji , which of course gives the Japanese the highest rank. Technically, they are about the 19th century, so they use steam-powered ships and use firearms. They are striving to develop the aircraft, but at the same time have a self-imposed ban on using electricity, as they see it as the beginning of the development that ultimately led to the atomic bomb , which is why flying remains unattainable for them. Nevertheless, with the help of a Federation pilot, they achieved at least partial success because they succeeded in developing glider pilots equipped with rocket boosters. However, these are destroyed in an act of sabotage.

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