Brett Riley’s Lord of Order published last week with an interesting premise that is oddly prescient even if the dystopian landscape is not quite what one would expect.
Set in a future where technology and electronic devices from cars and planes to phones and cameras have been destroyed, the world is run by the Bright Crusade, a fundamentalist Christian regime whose fist is iron and whose law is absolute. The story focuses on Gabriel Troy, the Lord of Order for the New Orleans principality.
Troy is very good at his job, but his loyalty is tested when he discovers that Supreme Crusader Matthew Rook plans to round up anyone who opposes the regime and march them to New Orleans after which he plans to kill them all by barricading them inside and destroying the levees.
Naturally, Troy begins to doubt the leader and his mission, and all hell soon breaks loose in ways that even the Lord of Order could not have imagine.
Riley is an interesting author. He eschews established rules and style in his writing, excluding things like quotation marks, leaving the reader to determine what is narrative and what is dialogue in the book. It is sometimes confusing, but it forces the reader to pay closer attention to what they are reading, and in Lord of Order, what they are reading is often bloody and brutal.
When one is faced with a foe that can and will do anything to hold onto their power, one must equal that entity’s methods and tenacity, after all. Violence begets violence begets violence.
What Riley does best, and what might be off-putting to some readers, is describe in grisly detail the scenes of torture and violence. There is a massive battle scene that draws you in and refuses to let you go until it ends. Some of this verges on stomach-turning, even for a seasoned horror reader.
Unfortunately, we don’t get quite as many details about his characters, and I feel like if he had taken perhaps just a bit more time filling in some backstories, it would have made the novel as a whole more compelling.
Don’t let that stop you from reading, however. If you’re a fan of stories that break established forms and styles and dystopian novels, Lord of Order is definitely for you. The story feels just a little too real in a world that is filled with a growing and often dangerous nationalism tied to extreme religious movements.
You can pick up a copy of Lord of Order at your favorite bookstore today.