The Trident is the ultimate battle between good and evil as sorrow, hope, and dreams take unfathomable directions. While there appears to be no real future, many are not giving up. They’ll fight Poseidon himself to control the hotel and escape.
By xxxx on February 14, 2016
I have been a huge fan of Melanie (Catt) Dahman's works since reading her page-turning thrillers "When We Were 8" and "Circle Jerk" in one sitting each. As great as those two masterpieces of psychological terror are, she might have outdone them with "The Trident". The same high level of suspense is there; the same development of intriguing, complex, sympathetic characters, the same proficiency at tight, imaginative plotting. However, "The Trident" offers a much broader canvas and wider imaginative sweep for her authorial skills.
"The Trident" is a post-apocalyptic novel in which a flood of biblical proportions covers the earth including most of the mountaintop resort known as The Trident up to the seventh floor. Perhaps two thousand survivors are trapped in the top several floors above the high water level. As might be expected, a chaos of deteriorating hygienic conditions, good and evil factions battling for power and control of the provisions, and general moral and ethical decline in the residents ensue. Add to that the rise of a schizophrenic self-proclaimed profit and his murderous devotees, and you have the ingredients for a page-turning thriller.
The descriptions of the differing floors of the resort - each with their unique micro-societies - are so descriptive and sensual, that the reader gets to know them by their sights and sounds and smells and differing hostility levels. As a reader, I almost came to feel that I lived there. I found myself charting out areas where it was safe and not safe to venture, and quite often pleading with the viewpoint characters to turn around and go back before something evil and nightmarish happens to them. Too often, they didn't listen to me!
Author Melanie Dahman's great strength of placing a diverse group of characters in high stress situations resulting in interactions and reactions that are perfectly consistent with what we would expect of each character is fully at work in The Trident. The characters are typically complex and intriguing, the tension is high and the suspense continually mounts, there is a coherent and compelling story line, there are many powerful and moving scenes - several of which left me with tears in my eyes. This is a rich, deep, fully engaging work of the imagination.
Especially exceptional are the succession of dilemmas, challenges and catastrophes that successively test the ethics and moral fiber of the protagonists. The degenerating hygienic situation in the huge flooded hotel spirals downward at the same rate as the ethics practiced by the residents erodes. There are many powerful scenes that stick with me - they've burrowed their way into my psyche and I remember them with the same level of intensity as when I first read them. A good apocalyptic novel provides potent social commentary, and The Trident delivers in this respect as well. As time marches on and conditions deteriorate, it becomes harder to distinguish the actions of the right-minded protagonists who have seized power from the actions of the self-serving, and in some cases outright evil, factions who are striving to wrest the power away. When the protagonists realize this, they begin to question their own motives and suffer their own ethical dilemmas. In this respect, think of The Trident as an expanded version of The Lord of the Flies. The Lord of the Flies on steroids!
There are many wonderful, memorable characters in this book. If I would comment on them individually I would double the size of this review. Suffice it to say that The Trident is an amazing, rich, albeit rather bleak, experience, as the best of the post apocalyptic novels are supposed to be. I consider The Trident to be one of the very best post apocalyptic novels that I've read in years. And that is saying something, because there have been plenty of good ones published in this timeframe. Highly recommended!