A chilling portrait of a family fighting to preserve their humanity in a cruel and merciless world
The collapse of civilization has left the survivors scattered amongst a few settlements along the wilderness fringe of a land ravaged by war. Preyed upon by roving bands of sadistic ex-soldiers and ever at the mercy of a natural world that has turned against them, a family is facing their final days. Hope appears in the guise of their young son. Raised in isolation and taught by his father to survive at any cost, he is thrust headlong into a battle for the future of humankind after rescuing a girl fleeing from a savage and relentless cult bent on burning the world back to Eden.
Raw and unflinching, A Desolate Splendor weaves a stark, and eerily familiar, portrayal of life on the brink of extinction and heralds the rise of an exciting new voice in apocalyptic fiction.
John Jantunen lives with his wife and two sons in Guelph, Ontario. One of his short stories appeared in Fractured: Tales From the Canadian Post-Apocalypse and his debut novel, Cipher, was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. He is currently working on his third book.
“This hollowed and eager portrayal of violence and post-civilized depravity is indicative of the strengths of A Desolate Splendor, which is written with a confident kind of impetus and drama. It has an honesty of intention that might be compared to Stephen King, and there are moments when Jantunen can make us shiver as something creeps in the shadows or cheer as a loyal dog saves a boy’s life.” — The Winnipeg Review
“Jantunen is a storyteller in his own right, with a real gift for describing the richness and magical qualities of the natural world . . . A forceful, visionary novel written in passionate and sensual language.” — Quill & Quire
“A Desolate Splendor is a bleak and luminescent elegy, a frontier novel masquerading as post-apocalyptic fiction and vice versa. One of the most intense CanLit novels of all time.”—Clifford Jackman, author of The Winter Family
“John Jantunen has written a fierce, intelligent, and heartwrenching end-of-days saga. While I had pleasant flashbacks to Robert R. McCammon’s masterful Swan Song while reading A Desolate Splendor, what Jantunen has done in these pages is distinct, galvanic, and very much his own.” — Craig Davidson
“John Jantunen moves Blood Meridian from the desert to the boreal forest, where danger is more easily hidden by trees.” — Nicholas Ruddock, author of Night Ambulance and The Parabolist
“A Desolate Splendor comes on like a wind-driven fire, gathering momentum with each page. The pace never falters as Jantunen deftly braids together the strands of his story in vivid, immediate detail.” — A.J. Somerset, author of Combat Camera and Arms: The Culture & Credo of the Gun
“Recommended if you want an apocalyptic tale that feels like grit-lit.” — Lipstick and Libraries