Constant Grey by Ryan Taylor
In the beginning he is a ‘tabula rosa,’ a blank slate who doesn’t know his name, or anything else beyond the cellar in which he is held, bound and gagged. He has been there for months, not knowing how he’s survived, with only a memory of being cut open repeatedly. Upon his release by drifters, his name returns, Khadim Grey, or Constant Grey. But what is a Constant. He does not know, although his powers slowly come back. He kills the men who released him, why he does not know, although they had dark auras. He spares their companion, Maddy, because she has a light, blameless, aura.
Grey and Maddy emerge from the cellar to a world he does not remember. The gigantic sun shires white, relentless, the air smells of sulfur. “An odd odor for sure, like the smell of fireworks.” Buildings around them are in ruins. Street signs are bleached pale. Grey sees Maddy tie a scarf over her face, her eyes covered by black glasses. He doesn’t understand this world. But he sets off; Maddy does not follow.
A man dressed in leather attacks Grey about a mile down the road. Grey defeats him and suddenly Maddy is back. She yells that they have to run, the Shavs are coming. They run. Eventually Maddy explains the world. About twenty years ago God turned the sun white-hot after the Devil stopped the Earth’s revolution, leaving half the world in darkness. Was Khadim in the organ farm for that long? His memories are all of the world the way it was.
This is just the start of Khadim Grey’s journey. He meets friends and foes, angels and demons, sons of God and spawn of Satan. The overly-large Faul, the leader of the Shavs; Patty the builder, who gifts Khadim a car; Jolt, the master of electricity; Terra, the master of the earth; and Minh, the master of plants; and many others. In this Mad Max world Khadim Grey navigates his own path as Constant, and, if we are lucky, in one or more sequels. Five stars.