Created by Mark Ellis (under the pen name of James Axler) in 1996, and published by the Gold Eagle imprint of Harlequin, Outlanders follows the adventures of a core group of explorers, Grant, Brigid Baptiste and Kane who operate out of a secret scientific base known as Cerberus.
Two hundred years after a nuclear holocaust devastated the Earth, a century of chaos and barbarism gave way to a centralized, despotic government ruled by nine mysterious barons.
Materiel’ taken from secret preholocaust military installations that stockpiled stores of weapons supplied the baronial rule in what was known as the “Program of Unification.”
Armed from the stockpiles, the barons consolidated their power and reclaimed very advanced technology created two centuries before by a secret project that back-engineered what was assumed to be science developed by an alien race known as the Archons.
The barons are genetically-engineered hybrids of humans and Archons, bred for brilliance and the single-minded devotion to maintaining strict order in the nuke-ravaged landscape by any means necessary.
The baron’s power, bolstered by the invisible authority of the Archon Directorate, extended beyond the fortified city-states into what came to be called the Outlands. There, the root-stock of humanity survived, eking out an existence in hellzones and hounded by black-armored Magistrates, the enforcers of baronial laws.
When Cobaltville Magistrates Kane and Grant come across a piece of misplaced technology and Brigid Baptiste, an archivist begins an investigation on their behalf, they find themselves branded as seditionists, their citizenship stripped from them. All three people are reclassified as Outlanders.
Since 1997’s Exile to Hell, the first book in the series, the heroes and heroines of Outlanders slowly uncover the truth behind the barons, the Archons, the nuclear holocaust and finally the hidden history of humanity.
They learn that Earth and humankind have been influenced since the dawn of time by the reptilian Anunnaki…
…and the much more human-appearing Tuatha De’ Danann many of whom–like Princess Fand–often allied themselves with Celtic tribesmen, such as the legendary warrior Cuchulain who served as the inspiration for Robert E. Howard’s Conan.
Over the course of several books, Kane, Brigid and Grant discover that the baronies are a revival of the god-king system of ancient Sumeria, put in place to await the rebirth of Anunnaki royal family. The fearsome Archon Directorate is little more than a false front to keep the ambitions of the individual barons in check.
Besides the nine barons, other threats arise in the early books, namely Sindri, a brilliant but deranged dwarf who rules a secret colony on Mars. First appearing in Parallax Red (1998), Sindri becomes the most persistent foe of the Cerberus warriors, appearing in six novels.
Other recurring enemies include the time and dimension-traveling Colonel Thrush…
…the cybernetic, child-like would-be world conqueror who calls himself Sam the Imperator…
…his opportunistic “mother”, Erica Van Sloane…
…the ever-scheming Russian mystic Grigori Zakat…
…the beautiful but sadistic Baroness Beausoliel…
…the self-mutated ruler of New Britannia who calls himself Lord Strongbow…
…and Maccan— the mad, last prince of the Tuatha De’Danann.
In Shadow Scourge (2000), the heroes contend with Ocajinik, apparently one of H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones who has taken a human form…
…most likely Nyarlothotep.
Another major adversary arises in the form of the Millennial Consortium–an organization whose stated aim is to rebuild the world according the tenets of technocracy by recovering all the suppressed technology from the 20th and 21st centuries. The Consortium, its various agents and satraps are well-armed, resourceful and ruthless.
Joined by the feral Outlander girl, the diminutive Domi and later the fierce samurai warrior, Shizuka, the Cerberus crew battle enemies all over the world–and even off it, their missions extending to Mars and to the Moon.
Other recurring characters are Dr. Mohandus Lakesh Singh, Sky Dog and Reba DeFore.
In the pivotal Children of the Serpent (2005), the Cerberus warriors discover that the nuclear holocaust and the institution of the baronies were part of an ancient plan formulated over a thousand years before by the Anunnaki King Enlil in order to reincarnate the pantheon of Sumerian gods and re-establish their rule over the world. The forms of the hybrid barons were a chrysalis stage of development.
The reincarnated, half-human Overlords become the Cerberus warriors’ main adversaries–they include Enlil…
…and Baroness Beausoliel, transformed into the vicious and cunning Lilitu, the Sumerian goddess of the night.
The Overlords are considerably more powerful and ambitious than they were as barons, and have access to much of the knowledge and technology of the Anunnaki. They have also their personal militias in the personas of the armored Nephilim, rank and file hybrids who were changed into essentially mindless drones.
In Dark Goddess (2007), the Overlords are apparently killed when their massive mother ship, Tiamat, self-destructs–or does she?
Employing conspiracy theories and myths from all cultures as underpinnings, Outlanders quickly struck out in new directions from the standard post-apocalyptic adventure series, building a complex but epic saga spanning many novels.
When Outlanders ended in December of 2015, it was the most successful and long-running mass-market paperback original series published in the last 28 years.
- Exile to Hell (1997)
- Destiny Run (1997)
- Savage Sun (1997)
- Omega Path (1998)
- Parallax Red (1998)
- Doomstar Relic (1998)
- Iceblood (1998)
- Hellbound Fury (The Lost Earth Saga, Book 1) (1999)
- Night Eternal (The Lost Earth Saga, Book 2) (with Mel Odom) (1999)
- Outer Darkness (The Lost Earth Saga, Book 3) (1999)
- Armageddon Axis (1999)
- Encounter (with Laurence James & Alan Philipson) (1999)
- Wreath of Fire (with Mel Odom) (2000)
- Shadow Scourge (2000)
- Hell Rising (2000)
- Doom Dynasty (The Imperator Wars, Book 1) (2000)
- Tigers of Heaven (The Imperator Wars, Book 2) (2001)
- Purgatory Road (The Imperator Wars, Book 3) (2001)
- Tomb of Time (2001)
- Devil in the Moon (The Dragon Kings, Book 1) (2002)
- Dragoneye (The Dragon Kings, Book 2) (2002)
- Far Empire (2002)
- Equinox Zero (2002)
- Talon and Fang (Heart of the World, Book 1) (2003)
- Sea of Plague (Heart of the World, Book 2) (2003)
- Mad God’s Wrath (2004)
- Mask of The Sphinx (with Chris Van Deelen)(2004)
- Evil Abyss (2005)
- Children of The Serpent (2005)
- Cerberus Storm (2005)
- Aftermath (2006)
- Rim of The World (2006)
- Hydra’s Ring (2006)
- Skull Throne (2007)
- Satan’s Seed (2007)
- Dark Goddess (2007)
- Grailstone Gambit (2008)
- Ghostwalk (2008)
- Warlord of the Pit (2009)
- Audio Guide to Outlanders (2011)