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Literature / Trail of Lightning

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Everything you've done, your past, it's all just a story you tell yourself. Some of it is true, but some of it is lies.

"But I had forgotten that the Diné had already suffered their apocalypse over a century before. This wasn’t our end. This was our rebirth."
Maggie Hoskie

Trail of Lightning is the first novel in The Sixth World series, a post-apocalyptic Urban Fantasy by Rebecca Roanhorse.

During the 21st century, the world is devastated by the Flood, a world flood of supernatural origins, which devastates the world and causes the collapse and disintegration of civilization and society. Following the disaster, the indigenous reserve of the Dinetahs becomes an independent state, declaring independence from the United States of America. Further, some Navajo populations have developed magical and supernatural powers, the Clan Powers, based on their ancestral tribes.

In Arizona, witches, monsters and demons have spread after the return of magic, and are fought and opposed by special monster and witch hunters.

Maggie Hoskie, a bounty hunter of monsters with a traumatizing past, is flanked by Kai Arviso, a nephew to a friend of hers, and is committed to fighting a new and mysterious race of monsters.


The second book, Storm of Locusts, was published April 23, 2019.

Trail of Lightning contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Maggie Hoskie, the protagonist, is a monster hunter.
  • After the End: The Earth was devastated by a large-scale world war, the Energy Wars, for he control of global energy resources. This was followed by a set of ecological and environmental catastrophes, including global warming-induced rising seas and melting ice, that devastated large parts of the world. The event is remembered as the Big Water or the Great Water or the Great Tide, and caused what was left of civilization to collapse and crumble.
  • All Myths Are True: In this universe, the gods, myths and legends of Navajo mythology are a real thing and really exist, and returned to the world, after the Great Flood.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1 — that is, worldwide and global — but the United States of America and North America are left worse off than most other areas.
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  • Badass Native: The main character, Maggie Hoskie. She's a trained bounty hunter plus has Clan Powers that help give her an edge in combat.
  • Divided States of America: The United States of America collapsed and balkanized: the Navajo Reserves of Arizona have become an independent Navajo Republic, while Utah is governed by a Mormon theocracy and the Republic of New Denver controls Colorado.
  • Crapsack World: Civilization has been shaken and broken up for a long time, the world has fallen into darkness and barbarism, the eastern United States of America are threatened by a theocracy of religious fanatics and monstrous creatures, and legendary creatures of Navajo folklore attack and devour human beings.
  • The Cult: A mysterious religious sect that venerates the White Locust, a creature of Navajo mythology, like a god or a supreme deity.
  • Demon Slaying: The Monster Hunters of the Navajo Republic.
  • Fallen States of America: After the Energy Wars, global ecological and environmental catastrophes and the resource crises, the United States of America collapsed, declined and balkanized, fragmenting into a melting pot of struggling in conflict with each other.
  • The Great Flood: A Native American version of this trope, caused both by the transition from the "old world" (the Fifth World) to the new world (the Sixth World) in Navajo cosmology and by global warming and sea level rise. Either way, the result was a global deluge that submerged a large part of the emerged lands.
  • The Great Offscreen War: The Energy Wars were a struggle among world power for control of the few resources and energy fields left in the world, which are on the verge of exhaustion and hyper-exploitation.
  • The Magic Comes Back: After the Great Water, the Energy Wars and the collapse of civilization came a return of magic to North America, especially the return of the ancient myths and legends of the Native Americans.
  • Mythpunk: A fusion of Navajo mythology and Navajo folklore with a futuristic and high tech setting, but also post-apocalyptic, Mad Max style.
  • The Theocracy: The Mormon Republic of Utah.
  • The Wall Around the World: There's a large wall around the nation of Dinetah and in the rest of Arizona that separates the Dinetah Nation from the rest of the world. The inhabitants of the Dinetah nation completely ignore the world beyond the wall.


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