"sensual and tantalizing thrill ride"
A year after a deadly SARS-like plague has befallen the
human race, leaving civilization as we know it in a
political and sociological shambles, America is made up of
paramilitary groups and self-governing, sporadic
municipalities fighting to survive amidst the rubble.
Among the survivors is one young, blonde man with
arresting, color-change eyes and bells and feathers in his
long, braided hair, hence his moniker “Bells”.
Bells is a strange man with almost no memory of a violent,
richly-textured past and a very vague memory of who he is
and what he has done in his long lifetime. He is also a
natural guardian and protector of the human race. His
ability to protect anyone, however, even himself, is
seriously hindered after his most recent trip through time
leaves him critically injured. But from the prologue when
the reader is introduced to Bells aka Jason, we learn that
nothing and no one is what they seem, especially not a
lone, mortally wounded young blonde.
Bells is just about at the end of his emotional rope when
he is happened upon by a small, ragtag group of three men
and two women fleeing Roderick—a sadistic megalomaniac and
self-appointed dictator of the ensuing Lone Star Empire.
Nikki and Anya, the females of the group, have been
rescued from a life of relative slavery and cruel
degradation. Their defenders are Hawk, Roderick’s younger
brother, and best friends Dal and Chet. Over the past year
of their flight from enslavement and death, the group has
grown extremely close, staving off attacks from outsiders
and protecting and taking care of one another like family.
It is with some reservations that the group decides to
help Bells and accept him into their small but intrepid
Once Bells proves not only his usefulness and resourceful
in repairing the group’s hopelessly disabled truck, but is
revealed to be an Immortal who could possibly help Hawk
defeat his power hungry brother, Bells and the group’s
fate is forever linked and sealed.
Bells is a sensitive, indestructible but tortured hero to-
die-for. Nikki is his beautiful, curative and courageous
match in every way. Bells and Nikki’s combustible
chemistry is the driving force behind Barnette’s fast-
paced narrative and inventive, original world after the
Collapse. The secondary characters are as engaging, multi-
faceted and universal as are the hero and heroine; readers
will laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry and get wet
and shudder with pleasure when the hero and heroine
climax, Barnette’s descriptions are that evocative.
Rounding out the assorted cast of characters is Roderick’s
ruthless villain bent on taking over the world and
creating a race of Immortals to help him rule it.
Barnette writes with passion and creative metaphors that
leap off the page into the reader’s heart and soul. The
Highlander meets The Matrix and Mad Max, his story is a
cross-genre bag of tricks and treats to titillate the
palate of cross-genre fans from romance to adventure and
bdsm, urban fantasy and shape-shifters, paranormal and
futuristics and every other fan beyond and in between.
The first book that I have read by Michael Barnette
(definitely won’t be the last!), Apocalypse Dance is a
sensual and tantalizing thrill ride for the mind and soul,
erotic romance at its finest and a book I highly
recommend. I can hardly wait for the next story in the
Immortal Heroes series, Games Dragons Play, to be released!
Reviewed by Gracie McKeever
Posted December 30, 2006